Our Laguna: Food, money donated to flood victims

January 27, 2011|By Barbara Diamond

Village Laguna's potluck dinner on Monday raised $605 to add to the $1,000 the group had already donated to help the victims of the Dec. 22 flood.

VL members were asked to bring donations of food, but there were more checks than canned goods, which was just as well. Laguna Relief and Resource Center Executive Director Donna Valenti said money is the most pressing need right now, although she estimated about $100,000 has been donated to date.

With the exception of Charlotte Masarik, who donated scalloped potatoes and a Ralph's gift card, virtually every cook put money in the pot at the potluck.


Among the donors: Darrylin Girvin, Italian sausage and a check; Barbara Metzgar, spinach casserole and a check; City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, corn bread and a check. Well, you get the idea.

"I also made a cake, but it ended up in the trash," Rollinger said.

Other donors: Mayor Toni Iseman, Bonnie and Arnold Hano, Bill Ives, Madeleine Peterson, and Lynn Zukor, the center's newest board member.

Also: Jackie Gallagher, Jinger Wallace and Cathy Fry.

Bobby Fader showed up with chicken tetrazzini from Tivoli Too. Ed Merrilies donated his talent on the piano.

Flood survivors were honored guests at the dinner.

Maureen Nash-Taylor brought her daughter McKayla Brooks to the dinner.

"We had damage, but we were lucky," Nash-Taylor said. "Our neighbors had it much worse."

Teresa Dominguez lived at Big Bend with her son, Alex, a second grader at El Morro Elementary School.

"We lost everything," she said.

They are now living at the Riviera Hotel at least until the end of the month.

"Our landlord thinks we can move in upstairs while he finishes the downstairs, where we lived," Dominguez said.

Valerie Harrison has been back in her digs — you should excuse the expression — for eight days, and Fanny and Rosa Palacios have moved back into their damaged home, working with their landlord on repairs.

Sadly, Olga and Bridget Pineda don't know when they will be able to return.

Guests were welcomed by Village Laguna President Ginger Osborne, who introduced Valenti and Ann Quilter. Quilter updated the group on activities on behalf of the survivors.

"We have been busy getting information on 94 businesses and homes outside the downtown put into electronic form so we can keep track of them," Quilter said.

Quilter said that she is training people to work one-on-one with the survivors, but professional counseling services will also be available, as it was after the firestorm.

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