Firm Volunteers with Backyard Bounty and Direct Relief International
Working alongside Backyard Bounty and Direct Relief International this summer, attorneys and staff at the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck helped stock the shelves of food and medicine cabinets in the Santa Barbara area with much needed nourishment and medical products.
Twelve Brownstein employees spent the morning of August 26 at Direct Relief International, an assistance program that provides essential health materials to those who may otherwise be without them. The team assembled hygiene kits or Personal Care Packs, which included toothbrushes, combs and soaps. Brownstein’s kits will find their way to Central Coast residents—including homeless families, migrant farm workers and teen mothers—through Direct Relief International’s collaborations with more than 30 charitable groups.
“With the busy schedules many of us navigate, it is important to pause and consider our surroundings,” said Michelle Pickett, Brownstein shareholder and general counsel to Direct Relief. “For me, it's carving out time to learn about the diverse charities in town, to see what others who are less fortunate may need and explore how I can help.”
For the second year in a row, on July 17, Brownstein employees and their significant others donned harvesting aprons and wielded picking poles to reach high into over 100 avocado trees to collect nutritious Bacon-variety avocados from a ranch in north Santa Barbara County. All of the green goods were donated to Backyard Bounty, an organization that harvests produce from backyards and orchards and provides it to low-income recipients either directly or via shelters and food banks.
“We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful, verdant city, but beneath the shiny facade, there lies a large population of people living below the poverty line,” said Amy Steinfield, Brownstein associate. “As attorneys we have a duty to provide both pro bono services and to get involved in the community. There is a 365-day growing season in Santa Barbara but a lot of the produce goes to waste for various reasons. Backyard Bounty ensures that this valuable food makes its way to people in need.”
Both of these events were planned by Brownstein’s Karma Committee, a group of attorneys and staff in the firm’s Santa Barbara office that organize opportunities for employees to volunteer in their communities and give back to those in need. In addition to the Direct Relief International and Backyard Bounty Karma Committee events, employees from the firm will participate in the upcoming Cancer Center of Santa Barbara walk in October and the Adopt-A-Child Holiday Gift Drive for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. In addition the Karma coordinates Lunch-and-Learn events for employees to learn about local nonprofits. As a cornerstone of the firm, community stewardship is central to the lives of all Brownstein employees with numerous members of the firm volunteering with and serving on the boards of local civic and nonprofit organizations.
Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world. The organization works to strengthen the in-country health efforts of our partners by providing essential material resources – medicines, supplies and equipment. For more information about Direct Relief International, visit www.directrelief.org.
The Backyard Bounty is a volunteer-run gleaning program of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Since the program in began in late 2007, Foodbank Volunteers have harvested more than 250,000 pounds of fresh produce for area residents in need. For more information, visit www.foodbanksbc.org/backyardbounty.html.