At the One805 Live concert, fund raiser for Santa Barbara’s First Responders held at Kevin Costner’s ocean front estate a week ago, Prince Harry and Princess Megan awarded the “Heart of the Community” to CBB friend Adam McKaig.

Adam heads up “Adam’s Angels,” the organization he founded in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. With over a hundred volunteers, Adam’s Angels has provided food and shelter to hundreds of unhoused people.

The story of the blossoming of Adam’s Angel’s is inextricably bound to the work of CBB volunteers and staff at Pershing Park. For over ten years, a team of dozens of CBB members would come out to Pershing Park the last Wednesday of the month to serve a hot meal to upwards of a hundred disadvantaged men and women that they had lovingly prepared at their homes. These efforts were led by Pershing Coordinator Audrey Krause.

In 2019, Audrey retired, and I stepped into her big shoes. It was relatively easy at that pre-Covid time, since the other volunteers who for so long had cooked and served knew the drill very well.

But after Covid-19 struck, churches, colleges, and other aids organizations who served the unsheltered in area parks had to abruptly halt their weekly meals, showers, and laundry services due to health concerns.

Both Mariela Socolovsky, CBB’s beloved Volunteer Coordinator, and I were distraught: how could Santa Barbara stop helping people who needed it more than ever?

More people were leaving congregate homeless shelters and sleeping on the street or their vehicles than ever before. So researched and created new and strict health and safety protocols, and decided to amp up meal service from once a month to once a week, thanks also to the support of CBB’s leadership and Rabbis.

Since it wasn’t safe during the height of pandemic to have a lot of people handling food, we found a new way: after ordering a couple times from local restaurants, my friend Miles Carrol, a fabulous caterer, and her partner, Xiu, began donating their time to prepare delicious and healthy meals, for only the cost of groceries, which our members generously supplied via donations.

When many people staying in parks or on the beach showed up wet and shivering to eat one of our warm meals, during a particular cold and rainy week, with nothing more than wet clothes on their backs, we decided to also begin providing clothing.

Our wonderful CBB community responded so enthusiastically! In no time at all, dozens of our community members and their friends were ordering clothes, sleeping bags and snacks on Amazon. Others, like Laura Dewey, delivered crates of bananas; CBB teens brought truckloads of citrus, and many, including Kristin Sedlin’s three teens and their friends, bags of freshly washed clothes — all handled in the safest of ways to avoid spread of the virus. We had other volunteers meet at our otherwise empty synagogue to sort and organize donations: for most of 2020 the large prayer and dining room was filled with boxes of potato chips and granola bars, pants, shoes, hats and toiletries.

But one day not long after we began asking for donations and distributing at Pershing, I met some women in the park who desperately needed clean and warm clothes. But I wasn’t feeling very well when the time came, so I called my friend Adam McKaig.

We had both worked as realtors together at RE/Max, many moons before, and were Facebook friends. Adam had once found a woman’s wallet, and heroically found her and returned it. Then at the start of the Pandemic, he had offered to deliver groceries to older or sick people who couldn’t risk leaving their homes. He had an amazing knack for bringing people together, and soon many people were offering to help him with that endeavor. He dubbed them, “Adam’s Angels.”

Not only did Adam do this, but he was so deeply moved by the experience, he wanted to do much more! So he came to Pershing to see how those of us with CBB were serving the needy, and then he immediately charged ahead to collect and tents and toiletries, too, which he brought to Pershing Park, on a scale impressively larger than us!

His Angels began coming on Tuesdays, yet he would also assist us when we were low on volunteers on Wednesdays. Sometimes our CBB members wanted to donate snacks or clothes but couldn’t easily drop them off, so Adam and his Angels would pick up their items and deliver to the park.

After awhile, we were connected by a CBB member with her friends: two super women including Maureen Ellenberger, who was very involved in the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, and Maggie Sanchez, who was on the Board of Doctors Without Walls. They raised thousands of dollars overnight and began compiling a hundred grocery bags a week, which CBB and Adam’s Angels worked together to distribute, in addition to our own healthy and hearty meals.

We would also fill snack bags full of donations from CBB volunteers and all hand these out, sometimes both CBB and Adam’s Angel’s together, so there was great team work at the parks. Adam soon was repeating our efforts in Alameda Park, on an even larger scale, using the safety protocols we shared. After a couple of months, they took over the weekly grocery bag distribution. The media attention he got from friends like KEYT’s John Palminteri, brought back some of the providers, like PAWS animal care and “The Sock Guy” and Showers of Blessings. Hundreds of people across Santa Barbara stepped up to support Adam’s Angels.

The founders of these charitable groups came to both Pershing and Alameda Parks, and we all pitched in together. Even the Mayor, Cathy Murillo, came out and sent out her own team of volunteers to assist Adam! I even trained them in our safety protocols of always wearing masks and gloves and social distancing.

Adam recently provided 180 volunteers to assist at the One805 Fundraising concert last Friday, including some CBB members. The concert featured the band Maroon Five and Adam Levine. Dan Fogerty also performed. Also in attendance was Ellen DeGeneris and Katy Perry. There were over three thousands guests, and tickets sold from $160-20,000: they raised millions of dollar for First Responders. According to Oprah, who made a surprise guest appearance and interviewed a Fire Fighter with a service dog, before introducing Rock legend Alan Parsons to the stage, most of the money this year will go to supporting the mental health of first responders.

On Sept 22, Adam humbly received the award to recognize his efforts and those of his volunteers. I think the entire CBB community can be proud that we were some of the wind beneath the wings of his many angels! As they were to our own members who so care-fully and generously gave of their time, energy and money, then and still now.

What moves me so much and what I most want to share is how a few people’s efforts can blossom over time into a huge garden of care. Every time a person sees or hears of another doing good for someone, they can be inspired to do what they can to step up, too. And soon the love and effort spreads like a field of wildflowers, into a whole community of people looking out for each other. And, importantly, having fun and making friends in the process! The Jewish sages teach us that giving without recognition is one of the highest forms of giving. What is also true is that every time we give and someone hears about it, they can be persuaded to contribute in ways that best serve them, too!

To make a donation to CBB’s Tikkun Olam fund please click here.

To learn more about our Caring Community, contact Laura Harbecker at:

To learn more about Adam’s Angels click here.

View photos from the One805 concert and from CBB’s work with the unhoused at Pershing Park.