Senior Volunteers Help Tornado Relief Efforts


Local volunteers are stepping up to help with the recent Oklahoma tornadoes that have devastated hundreds of homes, leaving thousands of people injured and displaced.

About a dozen residents from Montecito-based Casa Dorinda retirement home came to Direct Relief headquarters Tuesday afternoon to pack dental kits for people in need of basic items after the storms.

“Typically we make these packs for local, low-income families,” said Casa Dorinda Activities Assistant, Claudia Bott. “But with the recent tornadoes, it makes sense to send these to those in immediate need.”

The packs include one regular-sized toothpaste tube, two regular-sized toothbrushes, two floss boxes, and three child-sized toothbrushes all fit snugly in a plastic bag. The bags were then packed into the signature orange Direct Relief boxes and will be shipped overnight to families in need, along with other critically-needed medicines and supplies.

The volunteers worked at amazing speed down their assembly line, finishing all 250 bags within an hour.

“We may be old, but we’re pretty fast,” laughed Beatrice “Brownie” Borden, former Direct Relief board member and now resident at Casa Dorinda.

And for 100-year-old volunteer Margaret Hurley, this event was not her first time at Direct Relief. Having lived in Santa Barbara for more than 14 years, Margaret attends these events several times a year. She doesn’t let age stop her from helping others.

“I was here last year sitting in this exact same spot,” recalled Margaret. “I started if off then like I am now.”

Casa Dorinda brings volunteers to Direct Relief almost every month, providing their 300 residents an opportunity to give back to the community where many have lived for several years.

“We provide a sign-up sheet but residents are always asking to come to help,” noted Claudia as she looked around the room at the finished bags. “When you have nothing, anything helps.”

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