The Santa Barbara Children and Families Commission (SBCFC) accepted a $75,000 matching grant from the Orfalea Family Foundation on May 13, for the Commission’s third Spruce Up For Kids Day, which is scheduled to be held May 31. The SBCFC aims to improve the lives of the county’s young residents by providing child-rearing assistance to low income families in accordance with the California Children and Families First Act.

“The Orfalea Family Foundation gave matching grants to the Spruce Up For Kids Day because one of our focuses is early care and education. This program meets the criteria of helping children and families in need in Santa Barbara and it increases the standards of care,” said Lois Mitchell, executive director of the Orfalea Family Foundation.

Spruce Up For Kids is an annual event during which local organizations can apply for up to $3,000 in grants to improve facilities used by children, like playgrounds or daycare centers.

According to Nicole Singer, SBCFC’s communication relations coordinator, Spruce Up For Kids Day uses the money collected from donations and grants to purchase materials in order to improve the standards of over 90 Santa Barbara County residences that offer childcare programs.

The programs that SBCFC is most concerned with are those that primarily deal with children from birth to age 5.

“The actual day of the event, volunteers go out to the residence locations and fix them up. The day’s projects include planting, building play structures, erecting and painting fencing, and creating safe play and reading areas,” Singer said.

She also said those wanting to participate still have a chance to sign up.

“SBCFC is still looking for volunteers, particularly in the northern portion of Santa Barbara County,” Singer said.

Those wanting to help can contact the SBCFC office at 963-1709 for details about volunteering.