Since the tragedy of Sept. 11th, I have been thinking, as I am certain you have, too, on the nature of what it really means to live in a loving, united community, as we all grow closer with each passing day. The Malibu Community has demonstrated that love and unity once again, by coming together to make the holiday very special for the wonderful children and families we serve throughout the year.
Children and families from Juan Cabrillo, Point Dume Marine Science Elementary and Webster Schools, Malibu High, Children’s Creative Workshop and Wonder Years Daycare students participated in a huge toy drive. They also came with their parents to help out at our holiday parties. Local and neighboring schools, churches, families and businesses also joined forces to insure that these needy children and their families would have their individual wishes granted by Santa.
We held five terrific holiday parties in December at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, where over 600 children and their families attended and were treated to a great breakfast and lunch, a fantastic live deejay, games, prizes, and finally, were given a bag filled with eight to ten gifts- all brand new, all donated by our friends and sponsors. Santa called out each name, and they each got to sit on his lap, and received a Polaroid to take home. There was also a great crafts project each day, one great day sponsored by Alexandria Nassikas of Alexandria Mays. A fantastic magician, Charlie Mount, volunteered his time once again. There were face-painters and real live Harry Potter characters. California Supply, Bob and Nancy Salka, Dynasty Fashions, KAYO of California, the actor Cristian De La Fuente, Target Northridge, The Kiwanis Club of Malibu, and Topson-Downs of California generously sponsored these events.
Each child made out his or her very own wish list. Literally thousands of different and wonderful gifts and toys were procured.
Our volunteers and friends purchased specific gifts by hand, toys were donated through toy drives and generous friends. A lot of work went into making sure that each child received exactly what he or she wanted for Christmas- a difficult feat, but well worth the effort, once we witnessed the ecstatic children receiving their gift bags. (Many received the only gifts they would get this Christmas.)
Our special thanks to John and Ellen Poyer of Topson-Downs and their co-workers, Bob and Nancy Salka, Dynasty Fashions and their co-workers, Cha-Cha and Mark Weinstein of California Supply and their co-workers, Marla and Jeffrey Michaels of Kayo and their co-workers, Nidre Winger, Paul Grisanti, John Paola, Sol Consigliore and all the members of the Malibu Kiwanis Club, Violet at California Supply and Noonie Guzman at Dynasty Fashions, David Silverstein, Jaana Pekkanen and Mark Kramer of Action-Agape, Rev. Michael and Rikki Beckwith and Barbara Jones of the Agape International Spiritual Center, Mario Arrevalo & Family, Cathy and John Cygan, Carol Feikls, Margaret Hauptman, Melanie Wizan, Dorothy Istel, Norm and Shirlee Klein, Ruth Marsden, Sol Lehr of Lehr & Black, Stephanie and Roger Mass and family, Janine McEuen, Jack McGee, The Michaels Family, Alexandria Nassikas, John R. Todd and the friends and parishioners of Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church, Diane Perez, three second grade classes at Point Dume Marine Elementary, the Poyer Family, Jorge Rabaso, Judith Siler of In Celebration, Bradley Solomon, the Weinstein Family, and the Wirht Family.
Richard and Donna Chesterfield and their outstanding staff at Monrose Catering also came, personally cooked and donated a delicious five-course meal, complete with sumptuous homemade desserts, for 125 children. Fred and MaryAnn Segal held a beautiful holiday boutique on their property, to benefit the children.
Individual families were also adopted by local families this Christmas and received significant financial assistance, as well as individual, personalized gifts for our Adopt-A-Family families by such great friends and local Angels as Elizabeth Anthony and family, Lisa and Bill Curtis, John and Cathy Cygan, Jerry Engel and Dorcey Chernick, Linda Hutchinson and family, Icon Productions, Stacy Jackson and her family and her great Brownie Troop #685, Shari Nichols, Fred and Mary-Anne Segal, Pam Van Ireland, Lisa Walker and the National Cinema Network, Diane Poynter and the staff of Pitney-Bowes, Lori Sandal and family, Theresa Smith and Gavin Bortles, Kimberly Stefanko and family, and Amy Shaffer and Jessica and the crew and staff at Boston Public.
Beautiful, brand new gifts, toys and clothing also came from Arts in Education Council, Agape International Spiritual Center, Circles of Light Ministries, Paul and Sara Grisanti, Hasbro, Mark Kramer, Mattel, Inc., Janine McEuen & Mrs. McEuen, Kelly Meyer, Sees Candy, Topson-Downs and the Walt Disney Company.
Our wonderful friends Ritchie Geisel of Ability First made his facility Camp Joan Mier available to us once again this year so we could wrap all of the many, many gifts. Our very special thanks to him, his camp director Kelly Privette and her delightfully kind staff there. We are so thankful to them for their courteous support and help.
Ten new families were moved from a shelter into a home environment and five more will be moved in the next few months with financial support from the John and Geri Cusenza Family Foundation. Our special thanks to them, Bill and Lisa Curtis, Icon Productions and John and Meredith Whelpley for also being such wonderfully great sponsors.
My friends, I am so moved by your generosity and your love. You always demonstrate God’s grace at work. Thank you again for making this Holiday Season such a perfect memory for so many wonderful children and their families. I wish you a New Year filled with great joy, and pray that God will guide and protect us all.
Our sincerest gratitude, thanks and love,
Maria D’Angelo and
The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation