By Sue Pascoe
The Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club continued its annual benevolence program on March 7 by handing out $31,280 to 19 nonprofits that serve the community.
The festive ceremony, held in the clubhouse on Haverford Avenue, included desserts prepared by Mary Dean and background music with Marie Captain on the piano.
PPWC President Haldis Toppel told the awardees, their guests and club members, “What wonderful accomplishments you have given this community.” She then turned over the microphone to grant awards co-chairs Eva Iino and Robin Weitz.
The two women thanked everyone who had attended the Home Tour and Holiday Boutique in November (the club’s major fundraiser) and the event’s major sponsors: Realtor Michael Edlen, Snyder Diamond, Structure Homes and Toyota of Santa Monica.
Money was then distributed in four categories: arts and recreation; community and charitable groups; education; and beautification.
Andrew Frew accepted the grant given to Movies in the Park and announced the free movies that will be shown outdoors at the Palisades Recreation Center every Saturday evening this August: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Little Mermaid, Grease and Beauty and the Beast (animated version).
He told the News that the cost of renting each movie has grown from about $250 to more than $500 over the past 14 years. Additionally, the group is raising money to replace aging equipment.
The Palisades Americanism Parade Association accepted a check that will be used to create a kids zone for family activities at Palisades High School between the parade and the evening concert/fireworks. Rich Wilken said the concert will be held on the baseball field this year and the kids zone would be located near the girls gym.
The Will Rogers Ranch Foundation asked for money to help refurbish the stables. “We partnered with the Woman’s Club for the Home Tour,” said Trudi Sandmeier, who reminded everybody that “the ranch is in our community backyard. Come visit and bring your friends.”
In the community/charitable category, Lee Harrison said the Boy Scouts of America will use their money for a soccer goal at Camp Josepho in Rustic Canyon, and Charles Curtis accepted for Cub Scout Pack 223, which has nearly 100 kids. “Every year we bring in an informational speaker,” Curtis said. “We’re bringing in the reptile family—snakes and lizards. The kids love it.”
Susan Whitmore accepted for the Erika Whitmore Godwin Foundation (GriefHav- en) and said the grant would be used for scholarships for grief counselors. “I started this after my daughter Erika died,” Whit- more said. “If you know anyone that needs us, we’re here.”
Meals on Wheels was represented by Kevin McNaulty, who said, “I’ve been with [MOW] for 20 years and I’m excited to announce that we’re partnered with American Legion Post 283 to feed disabled veterans and we are now feeding one building in Marina del Rey.”
Barbara Overland, representing the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, said her nonprofit “has raised enough to support an outreach team for three years.” So the group is now addressing another problem. “People have housing vouchers, but because of their credit rating they can’t get a place, so we’re helping with first and last month rent.”
Caitlin Dolan of Voice for the Animals said, “We rely on the community so much,” and she thanked Palisadians for adopting and fostering animals. “We are temporarily at the Brentwood Farmers Market because animals are not allowed at Palisades High School. Kitten and puppy season is coming, so come and visit us.”
Celia Bernstein, director of development for the Westside Family Health Center, said: “We’re thrilled to accept this award. We will use it for a mobile health unit that has two examining rooms inside. It will be at the high school tomorrow (March 8).”
Canyon Charter School parent Morina Lichstein said the school plans to use its award for technology. “This wouldn’t happen without a village effort.”
Marquez Charter Elementary School parent Danielle Fern said their grant would help cover the cost of music for a teacher for first-and second-grade students. “Arts education is so important for children. Mr. Harrison is our music teacher and we’re happy to keep him.”
Principal Joan Ingle and parent Erin Kavish accepted for Palisades Elementary. Their grant will help support Discovery Garden supplies and equipment. “If you grow it, you’ll eat it,” Ingle observed. “This is the first year we’ve asked for money for the garden; we usually ask for the arts.”
The Paul Revere Middle School grant will be used for “Stand for the Silent,” an antibullying program. Daphne Gronich and Dori Delshad thanked the PPWC on behalf of the students.
Jonny Drummey, a middle-school English teacher at St. Matthew’s School, said the school’s award will be used for the Lucas Scholars Program. Students in underserved areas such as East L.A. and Venice are brought to St. Matthew’s for a five-day program that includes instruction in website development and education in fundamental scientific disciplines, such as chemistry and biology.
One of the beautification awards was given to the Malibu Orchid Society, represented by Birute Vileisis, who said: “Although it’s called Malibu, the majority of our club members are from Pacific Palisades. We have been meeting in this room for the last 20 years on the third Tuesday of each month. Everyone is invited.”
Garden Club member Mike Terry said their grant will be used to buy more plants for the xeriscape garden located along Temescal Canyon Road. “It was originally planted in 1988,” and has been resurrected over the last seven years, he said, noting that maintenance has become “a community builder. We are all volunteers who meet Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. and on the last Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.”
Palisades Beautiful’s award was accepted by Barbara Marinacci, who explained that the group used to plant trees in residential parkways until the city took over that task. Now they are focused on helping the horticulture program at Temescal Canyon School. The grant money will be used to buy a grinder to produce flour by grinding the wheat grown on the campus.
“Our big problem is ground squirrels,” she said. “If you know what to do about them, let me know.” The Village Green Committee, which maintains the iconic pocket park in the heart of Palisades Village, received money to help with ongoing improvements and upkeep (in the absence of any financial support from the city). Bob and Marge Gold and Grace Hiney accepted the check.