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The Woman’s Club Adopt-A-Family program fulfills wishes of needy community children at holidays


Kitty Malcolm, president of the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach, says, “Everything we do focuses on the needs of children in the community.” The Club’s Adopt-A-Family holiday program is a prime example of how the organization puts this concept into action. 

Believe it or not, the Woman’s Club has been around for 96 years. And if you think, as I did, that it’s a group of woman whose core is socializing, you would be dead wrong. At their heart is providing for children of low-income Laguna Beach families.

Historically, woman’s clubs began a long time ago, tackling tough agendas such as child labor and juvenile justice. In this regard, the Woman’s Club of LB follows suit, as it positively influences the circumstances of children in our town and continually strives to improve their lives in countless ways. 

As stated on their website, “The mission of the Club is to provide a nurturing environment for women and encourage them to develop and enrich social friendships, gain knowledge and provide services within our community in meaningful activities.” 

The Womans umbrellas

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Woman’s Club members give back to community

“Members join for many reasons,” says Kitty. “I see what experiences they have and what they’re looking and asking for, and it involves something in which they can give back to the community. The Board is very excited about branching out and providing more programs.”

And to this end, they have two new programs: The Laguna Food Pantry and Gowns and Suits for Military wives/partners.

Kitty emphasizes, “We have so much, we forget what it’s like not to.”

And that statement hits a heavy cord of truth, particularly around the holidays.

The driving power behind Adopt-A-Family

The force behind the Adopt-A-Family program is Nancy Shurtleff, who Kitty admits has expanded and enriched the project since she began spearheading it two years ago.

Kitty says, “Community outreach has been growing because of Nancy. And for this program, she has put the icing on the cake and has taken it further than ever before.” 

Nancy says, “What the children wish for is pretty simple: clothes, shoes, art supplies, books, and a few toys. Last year, we adopted 13 families for a total of 25 children, and we were able to get all the items on each child’s list.” 

Not to slight older children who might still be living at home, the Woman’s Club provides gift cards for them.

Sande St. John (2019 Citizen of the Year and community volunteer extraordinaire) gathers the wish lists, which are filled out at Santa’s House on Hospitality Night, from Laguna Beach low-income children, and then she disseminates the lists to various organizations. At the Club’s Member Holiday Luncheon on December 14, willing members can “Adopt-A-Family” for the holiday.

In conjunction with the Holiday Luncheon, items that have become “tarnished” and donated by members and the community are sold. All money received goes to the Club’s Community Outreach fund to support local families-in-need. The following day, Sande and her team of “angels” sponsor a party at the Clubhouse for these families to take all remaining items, which the members hope will become their “treasures.” 

The Womans Sande

Sande St. John (on left) and Carol Reynolds at 2017 Tarnished Treasures

Regarding adopting families, Kitty says, “There is one member who has the same family every year, and she purchases the gifts herself.”

However, to fulfill the children’s wish lists, the remaining shopping is Nancy’s department, and she immediately goes into high gear. Along with her teammate Kathleen Reedy, Nancy looks for sales and promotions, and then they spend a full two days (and sometimes more) purchasing the items. 

Nancy truly has taken it to the next level. “With the help of volunteers, we have a gift wrapping and tagging party,” she says. “After that, the families arrange to come in and pick up the items.” 

When I ask where the funds come from, Kitty says, “We are self-sustaining. The bulk of our funds come from the rental of the club for various events.”

Adopt-A-Family only one of the Club’s programs

The Adopt-A-Family program is just one of the many Community Outreach projects the Woman’s Club has in place. During the year, they have other programs that Stu News will feature either before or after they occur, including: Tarnished Treasures, Human Options, Laguna Beach School District Backpack Program, Laguna Food Pantry (their newest program), Scholarship Program, Intergenerational Literacy Program, and Gowns and Suits for Military Wives/Partners.

In the Woman’s Club’s mission statement, when it says they provide “meaningful activities,” it truly is a grand understatement, especially at this time of year. Otherwise, there would be many local children without gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.

For more information on the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach, go to

Friendship Shelter establishes Emergency Needs Fund for ASL client who lost truck and belongings

Inspired by the needs of an ASL client whose truck and belongings were lost in the fiery three-car crash on Laguna Canyon Road on November 16, Friendship Shelter is establishing an Emergency Needs Fund. The fund will be available for any Friendship Shelter client who experiences a sudden unexpected emergency that creates immediate needs related to their employment or housing. 

Friendship Shelter accident

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Photo from LBPD

ASL client lost truck and belongings in accident

Donations to the fund will be restricted to this purpose. Disbursements from the fund will be administered by Friendship Shelter program staff and overseen by Seaside Legal Services. 

To contribute, go to the shelter website at and click on the emergency fund donation button, or mail to PO Box 4252, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 and put “Emergency Fund” in the memo field.

Coastal eddy hosts holiday party for a cause Dec 9

Coastal eddy a gallery is hosting a holiday party, dubbed #ThisIsNotNormal...still, on Sunday, Dec 9, from 3 to 6 p.m. Last year at this time, the gallery‘s event focused on supplying water filters to Puerto Rico and USVI. This year the Southern Poverty Law Center will benefit. 

Coastal eddy one

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Coastal eddy holiday fete on Dec 9 will benefit Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Based in Montgomery, Ala., it is noted for its successful legal cases against white supremacist groups, its classification of hate groups and other extremist organizations, and for promoting tolerance education programs. 

Coastal eddy two

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Coastal eddy a gallery holiday party will feature an evening of activism, art, raffles, music, food and fun

There will be several raffle opportunities to win donated works of art and gift certificates from local businesses which will benefit SPLC. The gallery will also be introducing new artists, as well as new work from current favorites. 

Coastal eddy, the only ceramic art gallery in Laguna Beach, is located at 1417 S Coast Hwy, in the HIP District. To RSVP, call (949) 715-4113 or visit

December blooms in Laguna Beach

Photos by Scott Brashier

December blooms orange

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We are so fortunate to live in a place so beautiful

December blooms palms

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Palms and pink blooms make for the prettiest of pictures

Flag flies at half-staff at Monument Point in Heisler Park in honor of President George H.W. Bush

As designated by President Trump, flags will be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor the memory of former President George H.W. Bush. Wednesday will be a national day of mourning. The 41st president died late Friday, Nov 30, less than a year after the passing of his wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush.

When must a flag be lowered to half-staff? Though precedent is often followed, there are also guidelines outlined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a 1954 proclamation. Aside from the instances outlined by Eisenhower, the president can also choose to lower a flag whenever the nation is mourning, whether it is after a tragedy or after the death of another official not outlined in the proclamation. 

Flag flies Heisler

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Flag flies at half-staff at Monument Point for President George H.W. Bush

President George H.W. Bush is being honored around the country, including a special tribute at Houston’s City Hall. Bush arrived at Joint Base Andrews on December 3 and was later moved, where he now lies in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The public is invited to pay respects through Wednesday at 7 a.m.

The formal service will be held at the Washington National Cathedral at 11 a.m. EST tomorrow (December 5). The White House announced Saturday that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump would attend.

The arrival ceremony will start at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (December 5) at Ellington Field, then President Bush will lie in repose at 6:45 p.m. at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. 

The former president’s funeral will be held the morning of Thursday, Dec 6, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, and he will be laid to rest in College Station later that afternoon at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University. According to a statement from the university, Bush will be buried in his family plot alongside Barbara and their daughter Robin.

Golden glow, you stole the show

Photos by Scott Brashier

Golden glow sunset

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When the sun starts to set in Laguna, beauty is discovered 

Golden glow street

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A golden glowing street with a view that can’t be beat

Holiday Enchantment

Sawdust Winter Fantasy

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Holiday Enchantment marionettes

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Puppets are taking a hot cocoa break

Holiday Enchantment stripes

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Theme – peppermint candy canes

Holiday Enchantment snow

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Remaining days of Winter Fantasy: Dec 8, 9, 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Santa’s hours: Available for photo ops in Santa’s cottage 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 5 p.m. all days of the show

Holiday Sing-Along at The Garden Park takes place this Sunday

Holiday Sing Band

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The community sing-along is perfect for the entire family to enjoy

The community is invited to the annual Holiday Sing-Along at The Garden Park this Sunday, Dec 9 from 2 - 4 p.m. Bring your instruments, singing voices and treats to share for this festive day in the park.

Holiday Sing Elft

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Even the Garden Elf is dressed for the holidays

Music direction will be by the Garden Band; songbooks, funny hats and beverages are provided. 

The Garden Park is located at Coast Highway and Eagle Rock Way.

Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Quite a few of our readers have heard the lion’s roar – just like Maggi who asked, where does this lion sleep tonight?

The lion’s head fountain sleeps tonight and every night in the Peppertree Lane right in downtown Laguna! You know, that place where the smell of waffle ice cream cones always draws you in.

Kathy Bienvenue knew where to find it – she worked at the former Partner’s Bistro for many years, walking beside it. So did Charles Barr, who owned the Saloon for 23 years. Heather Knotts was familiar with it, and so were Robert Elster, Laurie Kirkland, Julie Rundle, Stacey Craven, Kristen Purll, Lisa Staight, Cathy Bosko, Sue Salomon, and John Walker. Bernadette Murphy and Melinda Gullen had good guesses, but they happened to be different fountains.

Thanks for spotting Maggi’s whereabouts, and for sending in your guesses. 

There will be another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi 11 4 18

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Lion’s head fountain, found on Peppertree Lane passageway 

(also known as Rue du Chocolat) 

Hospitality Night will take place this Friday

Hospitality Night will be held this Friday, Dec 7 from approximately 5 - 10 p.m. The festivities will take place in the Peppertree Lot (Lot 2 between Ocean and Forest Avenues), where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting at 6:10 p.m. 

Hospitality Night santa

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Mr. and Mrs. Claus delight children and locals at last year’s Hospitality Night

After the tree is lit, the City has arranged activities including live music, cookie decorating, arts and crafts, and letter writing to the troops. Santa will be in his hut on lower Forest Avenue to meet families for photos. Downtown merchants, nonprofit organizations, and the Chamber of Commerce will also provide open houses and other entertainment. 

The public should expect heavy traffic on December 7 during the afternoon and evening commute, and motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes or carpool. 

Street closures in the downtown area will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Portions of Forest Avenue, Beach Street, and the Pepper Tree Parking Lot will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event. 

To sign up for text message traffic alerts, text 92651 to 888-777.

The free neighborhood trolleys will run from 4 - 11 p.m. and free public parking will be available at the City’s Forest/Laguna Canyon (Lot 11), Lumberyard (Lot 12), and Community and Susi Q Center (Lot 13) parking lots. 

To view the complete schedule for the evening, click here. 

Hospitality Night is co-sponsored by the City of Laguna Beach and the Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

For questions or more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0304.

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