By Katrina Guzzardi, Communications Coordinator

Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine is excited to announce our partnership with Unite to Light for this year’s “Santa Barbara Gives!” happening now through December 31st. As our long-time supporters know, DWW is dedicated to providing free medical care to the homeless residents of Santa Barbara County, serving several hundred patients annually. Unite to Light has been creating and distributing solar powered lights and cell phone chargers since 2010, having supplied over 125,000 lights in over 70 countries to individuals living without electricity. This year, they have kindly offered to use all money raised through this campaign to fund lights and chargers for our DWW clients.

Our goal is to raise $8,000, funding 200 lights and 200 cell phone chargers that will be distributed early next year with priority given to the most at-risk individuals. Just $10 buys a light and $30 buys a charger for someone in need (donate here!). For those looking to shop for holiday gifts and help their community simultaneously, Unite to Light is also offering a “buy one, give one” deal to help us reach our goal. For every light or charger purchased through their website, one will be donated to Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine.

With the assistance of light, people have a better sense of security. They are also better able to function after dark, whether it be setting up camp for the night or relaxing with a book. DWW’s companion care team routinely coordinates transportation for our patients to medical appointments, but all too often they are unable to reach our patients because their cell phone battery has run out. These solar powered cell phone chargers would increase our ability to reach our patients and communicate with them about their medical care, as well as offer them a critical lifeline and allow for greater independence. Our patients will have the ability to make their own medical appointments and receive reminder calls. In addition, they will be able to set up job interviews, contact other agencies in the area, reach friends and family members, and call 911 in the event of an emergency.

In anticipation of this distribution, we have recently been demonstrating the lights and chargers to patients at our clinics, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Individuals who do not currently have cell phones are now eager to obtain one knowing they would have the ability to charge their phone. We hope you will consider donating and helping to provide these lights and chargers to our friends in need. Thank you for your continued support!