Seniors Helping Their Neighbors

By Riley McDavid   Riley McDavid

“Did you see this?” Arnie said, in a tone suggesting that whatever it was, he didn’t much like it.  At the time he was standing by his mailbox holding a bunch of mail in one hand and waving a letter in our faces with the other.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s someone else who wants a donation.  Something called the Foundation of Laguna Woods Village. You know I’ve given to the Leisure World Foundation and I give to Age Well. They all do great work.  But now this too?”

“Shall I tell him or will you?” I said to Mrs. McD.

“You better,” she replied.  “You’ll be a lot kinder to him than I would.”

“Arnie,” I said most patiently, “there is no more Leisure World Foundation. It’s now called the Foundation of Laguna Woods Village.”

“How come?” Arnie said.

Mrs. McD couldn’t hold back any longer. “Because there’s no more Leisure World, you dodohead!” amply proving her point that she’d be tougher on him.

“Okay.  That makes sense.”

“But they do the same great work,” I said. “They provide temporary emergency financial assistance to residents of Laguna Woods Village. Specifically, the Foundation provides interim assistance with food, medication, utility bills, medical or nursing care, caregivers and respite care. “

“So if somebody’s a little short, they send them money?”

“They don’t send the person any money,” Mrs. McD said.  “If somebody’s in a real financial squeeze and can’t pay a bill, they can apply to the Village’s Social Services Department for assistance.  Once all other avenues of assistance have been exhausted, Social Services sends the request to the Foundation for consideration. It’s done confidentially. Social Services codes the requestors’ identities so the Foundation people never know who they are.”

“If the Foundation approves,” I added, “then the Foundation sends a check directly to the vendor —  Edison or the pharmacy or whatever.  In some cases they’ll send people scrip cards for groceries. It’s just for temporary help.  And it’s only for Village residents. And you know who else they help?”


“Allow me,” Mrs. McD said.  “They send $12,500 every month to support activities of Age Well Senior Services — $5,000 for Meals on Wheels …”

“Which I deliver,” Arnie said proudly.

“…$3,500 a month to the Florence Sylvester Center for the congregate lunch program, and $4,000 to the Adult Day Care Center.  And every bit of that goes to help Village residents.

“Gollee,” Arnie said in his best Gomer Pyle imitation.  “I think I should send them something”

“You certainly should,” Mrs. McD said. 

Then she went on to explain how the foundation gets it funds.  Last year it had income of $101,582 — $57,276 from donations by 1,271 individuals and $20,865 from Village clubs and organizations.  Another $10,000 was a grant from the city of Laguna Woods and the remainder from the invested reserve fund. They were able to disburse more than twice that — $219,206 — thanks to the generosity of several residents who had in years past remembered the Foundation in their estate plans. Individual donations range anywhere from ten dollars to several hundred dollars at a time.

“Your daughter in Vienna — what are you going to get her for her birthday?” I asked.

“Gosh,” Arnie said, “it’s such a hassle sending stuff to her all the way over there in Australia.”

“Austria, Arnie,” Mrs. McD said. “Austria.”

“Right.  Anyway sending her stuff overseas is such a hassle. And besides she’s got just about everything she could want or need.”

“So here’s what you do,” Mrs. McD said.  “Sit down and write a check to the Foundation.  When you send it to them, tell them it’s in her name and give them her address.  They’ll send her a nice card, and she’ll be delighted to know that her present went to help seniors who really needed some financial first aid.”

He thought about that a bit.  “That is sooooo cool,” he said at last.

“And Arnie, when Mrs. McD called you a dodohead…”


“With her that’s a term of affection.  She calls me that all the time.”

You can help Village seniors by donating today. To reach the Foundation, please call 949-268-2246. Also you may email them at the Please check their website for more information:


Photo caption:
The volunteer board members who make the Foundation of Laguna Woods Village work:
Back Row (left to right): Charles Little, Mike Straziuso, Jayson Rome, Eliot Brody (Secretary), Pat Wilkinson (Vice President), Marvin Walts, Jerome Radding (Asst. Treasurer).  Front Row: Marion Levine (President), Beth Perak, Ruth May, Clara Baker (Treasurer), Ruth Bailey

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One Response to “Seniors Helping Their Neighbors”

  1. admin says:

    This foundation does great work!