Around the Town: Fundraising events have been impacted by pandemic

| April 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

Every spring, the ladies of Larchmont lunch and bid on donated extravagant safaris and trips, art, and jewelry. It sounds frivolous, but for children’s charities, these events provide a financial lifeline that makes their various missions possible. All of these events have been cancelled or postponed.

The marginalized youth of our city are going to need services more than ever once we come out on the other side of this coronavirus calamity.

I’ll just take a little of your time, dear readers, to tell you about these organizations and the work they do (and how some are coping):

The Colleagues

This group is comprised of active and sustaining members who support and raise funds solely to benefit Children’s Institute Inc. (CII) in its efforts (since 1906) to end child abuse and neglect. Visit:

The Muses

They support and promote the California Science Center Foundation and its educational programs for youth. The Annual California Science and Engineering Fair recognizes the achievements of 1,000 science scholars in grades 6-12. The Muses contribute funds and volunteer time at this two-day event. They also fund scholarships that provide families of pre-K through 10th grade children, with demonstrated financial need, the opportunity to participate in the California Science Center’s weeklong summer day camps. Learn more at:

Operation School Bell

An auxiliary of the Assistance League of Los Angeles, these volunteers have funded trucks equipped with dressing rooms and new school apparel, shoes, socks, jackets, underwear, school supplies, books and hygiene kits for Los Angeles Unified School District homeless and needy children. All apparel is brand new.

The volunteers also provide services to children at their home facility on Cole Avenue, to complement the truck’s work performed at school sites. The auxiliary’s mission is carried out by member-volunteers and members of the Police Reserves and Wilshire Rotary.

After all, a child is unlikely to attend school if he or she is ashamed of his or her appearance. “This is the best day of my life!” is a child’s most often heard declaration upon receiving clothes from Operation School Bell. See:

Alexandria House

This is a transitional home for women and their children. Food is always a struggle. To counter the even-worse situation because of the COVID-19 sheltering-at-home, The Ebell of Los Angeles partnered with Larchmont Wine, Spirits & Cheese to provide Alexandria House’s meal on April 29th. Learn about Alexandria House at:

Children’s Hospital

Back in December, a native Angeleno, also a friend and supporter of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), received lovely, unsolicited publicity in a national shelter magazine for her new book. Reading about the book, several devoted CHLA volunteers from the neighborhood came up with an idea for an exciting fundraising event to benefit the child patients and the hospital that takes care of them.

Two long-time CHLA support groups jumped at the opportunity to host a book signing, informative talk and luncheon benefiting the 119-year-old children’s hospital. An elegant venue, florist and colorful rental linens were picked. Landis Gifts & Stationery created a “Save the Date” bookmark and designed a chic invitation. Over 300 supporters were invited to join in the fun. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit the world.

This global tragedy did not stop the creative CHLA volunteers. A clever e-blast was quickly sent to inform all on the guest list that the May 11th benefit had been postponed until Sept. 16th. Same time, same place!

Also, the author graciously offered to sign 75 books now, and the books immediately were delivered to her Los Angeles home. Hospital supporters currently are personally delivering the signed books to their purchasers. (Social distancing observed.) Many books have been mailed to supporters all over California, Idaho and the East Coast.

The committee has placed another order with Edie Frère at Landis … for a clever, reasonable second invitation that will be sent out in July. Hopefully reservations will continue to roll in, as will orders for the beautiful coffee table book. This is just another example of local volunteers who are determined to continue their never-ending mission to raise needed funds for local children — the heck with changed circumstances. The two support groups are online at: and

Give support

ON THE FRONT LINES: Eighteen-month-old Ruby Johnston gives personal protection advice to her doctor dad.
Photo by Dr. Paul Johnston

Please consider giving a contribution to any of these very deserving organizations whose members have been thwarted in their usual spring activities to raise funds for needy children. Or to any of the hundreds of similar groups that need our help, especially now.

On a more personal note: Like you, I have been reaching out to relatives while staying at home. My nephew and his wife and daughter moved to our sister village, Larchmont, New York. I’d been unable to reach them so I called his mom, my sister, and asked how they were. He, an emergency room doctor, had been re-assigned. “Where?” I asked. “Elmhurst in Queens,” my sister replied. I put the phone down and burst into tears. I had encouraged him to go into medicine while he was growing up, not imagining it could land him at the apex of a pandemic.

I texted him that his 18-month-old daughter will learn one day about his bravery. He texted back “We have some new advances in protective equipment that are helping,” and he sent the accompanying photo of his daughter, Ruby, who before she said goodbye, modeled what she thought he could wear while working.

An innocent and wise gesture — and a time to be good to each other.

And that’s the chat.

By Patty Hill

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Category: People

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