After reading Rita Robinson’s article, “Coping with Two Losses,” (Oct. 14 edition) you might think that The Laguna Resource Center is a front for organized crime. I’d like the opportunity to tell you who we really are by explaining what we do.
We give away groceries to approximately 800 families a month. That’s about 3,000 people. Much of that food is donated by our generous residents, schools, churches and local businesses. But a lot of it we have to buy from the Federal Food Bank and Second Harvest.
We send our homeless and low-income clients to the Community Clinic downtown, who then bill us for their co-pays.
With a grant from the Homeless Court Foundations, we pay for our clients’ prescriptions.
We have brought our clients to Lenscrafters, who give them eye exams and glasses at no cost.
For the past year, we provided food for hot breakfasts to the homeless shelter. Now that we no longer operate the shelter, we’ve been asked to provide cold-breakfast foods only.
We pick up lunches from Hoag Hospital, Irvine, and deliver them to the homeless shelter.
For years we have provided our clients with donated clothing. We will continue supplying the shelter with donations we receive.
We distribute bus passes (donated by the Neighborhood Congregational Church) to homeless and low-income individuals.
We provide professional counseling to our clients and help place those with addiction problems in rehab.
Best, we give toys donated by you to the children of low-income families. (Christmas is around the corner.)
We donated $65,000 to the City to build kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities at the homeless shelter.
We helped distribute over $220,000 of your donations to victims of the December floods. And we will be there to help in the event of another disaster.
We treat everyone who walks through our door with dignity and respect.
A few years ago, when I was managing our food pantry, I encouraged one of our volunteers to take bulk-item donations (that we couldn’t distribute) to an orphanage he supported in Mexico. When Sita Helms of Helping Hands objected, I asked him to stop, and he did. Today, along with the Presbyterian Church, that volunteer finances food purchased for the orphanage at the Ensenada Costco.
At the risk of sounding self-serving, we are not the bad guys in town. We’re people like you who want to help friends and neighbors in need. Please come visit us at The Laguna Resource Center Food Pantry, just north of the dog park. If you’d like, bring us a can of vegetables or fruit from your tree in the back yard. Our clients will be grateful.
Andy Siegenfeld, chairman, Laguna Resource Center