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011019 Warm Coats

PHP Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish Program and Rotary Club of Buellton's Coat Drive was temporarily housed in the previously revamped Napa Auto Parts Store in Buellton.

Cold nights often bring frost to the Valley and some community members cannot afford a warm coat. This is especially true for children who outgrow their clothing every few months. The Rotary Club of Buellton teamed-up with People Helping People to promote, collect and deliver coats to families during the week leading up to Christmas.

Rotary Club of Buellton President, Judy Blokdyk, said, “Our Club members understood the need for the coats and jackets but did not have the collection and distribution system. With our knowledge of PHP and their Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish program upcoming, we thought that they could help us systematize our plan.”

Justin Wilkins, a PHP manager and Buellton Club member said he believed the partnership to be an obvious and natural fit. PHP helped obtain and distribute collection boxes and pick-up donated coats as well as their “Toys For Tots” items that go towards the annual Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish program.

PHP’s CEO approved the plan; Buellton Rotary wrapped and labeled numerous boxes; and PHP volunteers placed the boxes and collected the clothing. On Dec. 21 at its opening of its Fulfill-A-Wish boutique, PHP displayed the collection of 450 warm clothing items, and families in receipt who were pre-approved to participate in the program based on financial need, selected one item per family member.

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PHP’s Wilkins said that families expressed gratitude that warm clothes were available for the second year at Fulfill-A-Wish. “Donations exceeded our expectations,” Wilkins stated. “We had a great selection of types and sizes of items thanks to the overwhelming support of the community.”

For more information about People Helping People or its Christmas programs helping those in need, visit or call 686-0295. To obtain more information about the Rotary Club of Buellton, contact Judy Blokdyk at

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Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. Follow her on Twitter @LAndreSYVNews.