Unity Shoppe workers show up despite layoffs

Donations welcome

Unity shoppe seeks donations following layoffs

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Unity Shoppe laid off 15 workers temporarily on Monday, but that didn't stop them from showing up for work in Santa Barbara.

Enrique Rodriguez is a warehouse at the Unity Shoppe.

"Now I feel how people feel that need us because we are now part of that," Rodriguez said.

Donna Egeberg came to work too.

"I am here because I believe in Unity and helping the people that come to us, and we are trying to keep our doors open as much as we can," Egeberg said.

Some laid-off workers have children. 

Unity Shoppe administrator Elvira Avina is a single mom with four kids.

"It is hard to bring home the bacon for my children but yet there are 3,500 families out there that we see every day."

They spent the day trying to stock the empty shelves. Others worked for free behind the counter of the Unity's fundraising thrift furniture and gift shops on State Street in Santa Barbara.

The shop is unique. Rather than being given food, toys and clothing they may not use, the Unity Shoppe allows low income clients to come and shop for what they decide they need. That helps them remain the heroes of their households as they try to make ends meet.

The Unity Shoppe is known for its telethons with Kenny Loggins and was recently mirrored by Brad Paisley in Nashville.

Although the nonprofit offered disaster assistance, donations went elsewhere during the recent disasters.

Donations can still be made online at or by calling the telethon hotline 805-845-5555.

They intend to hire back employees and restructure their finances.

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