In bucket brigade
 On Saturday, February 3, approximately fifty members of the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade showed up at La Casa de Maria with shovels and buckets and pitched in to remove hundreds of pounds of mud from our property’s historic chapel.

Since the mud and debris flow altered the landscape of La Casa, there have been countless offers of assistance. But the Bucket Brigade is a fully organized and insured group that was able to mobilize quickly, helping to remove the heavy and wet mud that poses a threat to the viability of the building.“This was an encouraging and uplifting scene,” said Steve Jacobsen, La Casa’s director. The chapel is just one of the buildings that sustained damage and filled with mud during the devastating mud and debris flow on January 9. “To see these women and men making such incredible progress in one day was truly heartwarming,” Jacobsen added.

Abe Powell, left, and a volunteer inside La Casa de Maria’s chapel as part of the cleanup effort. Photo by Macduff Everton.

In addition, the brigade is “family.” Montecito resident Abe Powell, the son of longtime La Casa employee Christie Powell, came up with the idea for creating the Bucket Brigade along with his wife. After the mud and debris slide, Powell, who serves on the board of directors of the Montecito Fire Protection District was looking for a way to mobilize the outpouring of support for Montecito residents who had been affected by the devastating event.  Most of the brigade’s efforts are aimed at homeowners who need help shoveling out the massive amount of mud that flowed into their property on January 9. La Casa de Maria is the only nonprofit hit by the event, so help from the brigade was welcomed.  In addition to cleaning out the chapel,  members of the brigade focused on saving the historic oak trees on the property as well as moving mud away from the exterior of some of the other buildings. La Casa envisions many future work days, particularly in the orchards and gardens, to capture the outpouring of support and offers of assistance that came in the days following the mud and debris flow.

“The offer from the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade came up on Friday night, and by Saturday, they were on our site. It wasn’t planned, but it was huge help. We simply needed to get that wet mud out of our chapel as quickly as possible.”

Members of the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade at work in La Casa de Maria’s chapel. Photo by Macduff Everton.

Perhaps the only thing better than having an efficient group of workers with their tools is having the effort documented by an award-winning photographer. And that’s just what happened. MacDuff Everton, a Santa Barbara resident was on hand with his camera, capturing both the spirit and hard work of the day. He shared photos with La Casa. More information about the Santa Barbara Bucket brigade here, along with footage of the cleanup effort.

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