Santa Barbara winery raises funds to support mental health initiatives

Jun 30, 2021

The Alma Rosa Winery in Santa Barbara is hosting its second annual fundraising event on July 24 to raise funds for two mental health nonprofits: Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and One Mind.

The Mental Wellness Center is a nonprofit that provides services and raises awareness about mental illness.

Annmarie Cameron is the CEO of the Mental Wellness Center and said reopenings can have different impacts on mental health.

“The emergence of the COVID pandemic is something that is being experienced in lots of different ways by different people. Some people are feeling more anxiety and other people are feeling elation,” Cameron said. “I think the social connection to one another is what's going to help bring us out of this period of transition.”

Cameron said she will be at the fundraiser and being able to have an in-person event is important especially for mental health.

“Social connection is the cornerstone of mental wellness — even people like myself who are somewhat introverted need social connection so being able to meet face-to-face to give a hug and see someone smile behind the mask is really something that is nourishing,” Cameron said.

The other nonprofit, One Mind, raises funds for mental health and brain health research and programs.

Cindy Dyar, operations director for one mind, will be at the fundraiser and said the past year has been difficult for people struggling with their mental health.

“With the pandemic over the past year and folks being isolated within their homes and not interacting at schools and workplaces it's just compounding the effort of these illnesses even to a much greater degree,” Dyar said. “So it's just so important at this time to help get the services and programs and help raise awareness so people understand they can get help.”

Dyar said being able to have the walk in-person is important for the community.

“Getting folks together first and foremost is so exciting. We can have Zoom meetings and Zoom events but you just can't replace that in-person interaction and camaraderie, excitement, hope – things like that that come out of it, so we’re thrilled to be able to get together and gather for events and particularly do a walk,” Dyar said.

The fundraiser is called “Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction” and is an in-person walk through the Alma Rosa vineyards.

Debra Eagle, the General Manager at Alma Rosa Winery, said people can still get involved even if they aren’t able to do the walk.

“People can register to join the walk. If they don’t want to walk because they can’t – it’s not for someone who’s not physically fit,” Eagle said. “You’re going to have to walk four to five miles without any discomfort because it is a little bit of a hike – parts of it, not all of it, parts of it.”

Alma Rosa Winery owners, Bob and Barb Zorich, will be matching donations up to $70,000 to be split between both nonprofits.

The event will be July 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Last year the virtual Peace of Mind walk raised $144,000.

For more information about the fundraiser or to get involved, visit the Alma Rosa Winery website.