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Laguna Beach

You are what you support: 4SOCIETEE donates $1,275 to the Laguna Food Pantry as part of ongoing tee shirt cause drive

Melissa Martinez-Booth, founder of 4SOCIETEE, delivered a check from the organization’s first month of their tee shirt cause drive for Laguna Food Pantry this week for $1,275 – which equates to 7,650 lbs of groceries, exceeding their original 5k+ goal for the month. The business plans to continue supporting Laguna Food Pantry through their ongoing tee shirt cause drive.

The motto of 4SOCIETEE is: “What you an opportunity to show support for what you believe in…but should never sacrifice style. Our tee shirt is the canvas for telling that you can look good while doing good.”

Originally established as a way to fund Laguna Beach High School surfing scholarships, 4SOCIETEE shifted gears when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and began focusing on fundraising for areas of need.

4societee donates check

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Melissa Martinez-Booth (on right) presents check to Laguna Food Pantry Board Chair Susan Thomas

“We worked with Anne [Belyea, Executive Director] at the Pantry to establish a physical equivalent to the donation per tee to illustrate to people where their donation goes and established the proceeds formula of the sale: one tee shirt to be equivalent to 30 lbs of food. While we hoped to hit a 5,000 lb goal by the end of our first month, we were blown away to see that goal exceeded to a total of 7,650 lbs of food supplies. From the way the community rallied around the LBHS Scholarship tee, we had high hopes they would come together to support the Pantry, but to see this type of reaction is pretty amazing. The people of our town may not always agree – but when they do come together, it is a powerful and beautiful thing.”

4SOCIETEE began as a solution to a problem

Melissa says, “With my husband Jeff [Booth] being a former top Pro Surfer, and two teens competing in the sport, our home life really centers around surfing. So when some surfer mom friends let me know that our local high school did not offer a scholarship for surfing, we felt pretty motivated to set this wrong right. 

“Collaborating with legendary local artist Steven (Sli Dawg) Chew, we created a surf map graphic tee that launched a surfing scholarship program, which has since helped fund the education of graduating surfers the past four years and for many years to come. We’ve often looked at expanding this concept into other communities, but with our day jobs on overload, we barely had time to manage the work we did for the LBHS Program. Local surf mom Lori Levine managed the fund and Instagram.” 

Changing focus

However, in March of 2020, the forced pause of the global pandemic gave Melissa time to rethink how this cause program could work. “I was seeing many COVID-19 themed tees out there that were profiting off of the virus without even offering a dime to any related causes, and it really struck a nerve. A few friends challenged me to do something about it, so I did.” 

4SOCIETEE donates David

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Laguna local surfer and businessman David Vanderveen 

The collection has a social distancing theme, which is why Melissa called it the “Antisocial But Connected” collection – you can stay safe and at home, but feel connected through giving back.

“We designed three shirts themed around the fashion industry with an ‘antisocial but connected’ spin on three iconic designer tees and threw them up on our new brand 4SOCIETEE’s website – which we made in three days – choosing the Laguna Food Pantry as our cause. We have volunteered there as a family and have made their tees for the past few years. They are a great group of people and very much believe in what they are doing. 

“Laguna has this outside-the-bubble image of having an affluent majority, when many are actually of the shaky middle class – and with the effects of the pandemic further challenging the family unit, their access to food supplies is even further compromised.” 

4societee donates board member

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Laguna Food Pantry Board Member Suriya Khan Mastroberti wearing 4SOCIETEE tee shirt

In the last few weeks, 4SOCIETEE has taken on a life of its own – expanding its reach to various to charitable organizations including the Italian Red Cross and Waves 4 Water, and supporting local businesses. 4SOCIETEE is also sending checks to the Italian Red Cross and to a few small businesses this week.

“Its name is meant to symbolize the inclusivity of who we are as people and [be] open to all causes, but we are hoping to instill an elevated design aesthetic traditionally missing from the cause industry,” says Melissa. “We believe that what you wear is an opportunity to show support for what you believe in – and that you should be able to look good while doing it.

“I’m actually an East Coast transplant – studied fashion design at FIT in NYC and worked a few years in contemporary fashion before vacationing in Cali and like so many transplants…never went back. 

“Although I’ve never been a beach girl, and as my surfing family will tell you, have barely stuck a toe in the ocean for the 25 plus years I’ve lived here, I was really drawn to the surf apparel industry. It was on fire at the time and during my 10 years as design director at Quiksilver, we experienced the glory days where you could put a mountain/wave logo on a burlap bag with holes cut in it for sleeves, and it would fly off the shelves before the ink was dry. It was the sense of family that surf brands projected that drew me in – along with the authenticity of the brands and their stories, built from a real passion for a sport and its lifestyle – that sealed the deal. I definitely feel blessed to have been allowed into that club…being an outsider…and a female. 

4societte donates Melissa

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Melissa Martinez-Booth 

“I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the fashion industry. It can be a bit cold and exclusive – which is not what I am about. I’ve always felt more drawn to the big picture meaning of why people buy what they buy – the emotion behind it and the problem-solving aspect of addressing the needs not being met by the industry. I started PELT inc with my brother John 10 years ago – a full package design/sourcing and production agency located in North Laguna.

“Our focus was interpreting big picture trends into apparel concepts relevant to the brands we work with, our partner factories located in Asia, India, and the U.S. We definitely love the diversity of our customers from surf/skate brands like Volcom and Ugg Australia to international fashion brands like Lee Cooper to helping out with making products for local businesses like The Sound Spectrum and Royal Hawaiian.”

When Melissa was challenged to rethink how the cause program could work when COVID-19 hit, who would have imagined residents would be so receptive. 

“It’s really exciting seeing everything come together,” she says.

Melissa has shown that what you wear is an opportunity to show support for what you believe in, and one tee at a time, 4SOCIETEE is committed to helping make a difference. 

For more information, go to and follow on Instagram @4societee.

Laguna Presbyterian offers online presentation on coping with COVID-19 with Dr. Jeffrey Nagel

Laguna Presbyterian Church is offering an online weekly series of presentations designed to help people cope with stress and anxiety during COVID-19.

For the first presentation, which went live yesterday, Rev. Dr. Kathy Sizer had a conversation with Orange County’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Jeffrey Nagel to get a psychologist’s perspective on the emotional effects of COVID-19 – effects which often include increasing levels of stress and anxiety, depression, and alcohol/substance use. 

Laguna Presbyterian Nagel

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Orange County’s Director of Behavior Health Dr. Jeffrey Nagel 

In the presentation, they candidly discuss issues of loss – loss of normalcy, loss of social interactions and physical connections – and Dr. Nagel offers practical coping solutions to minimize the negative effects of the crisis through the process of building personal resiliency. He outlines how to recognize signs of trouble and provides step-by-step suggestions to restore a healthier life balance in the face of today’s daunting challenges. 

This series is just one of many recorded video productions that the church now offers online to its “safe-at-home” community during these days of physical distancing. The series continues next week by offering spiritual practices and prayer experiences to help those who want to feel more centered. 

All recordings can be accessed at any time from the Laguna Presbyterian Church website at

Laguna Beach Community Clinic supports healthy reopening

The Laguna Beach Community Clinic is launching its Back to Business program geared to support a healthy reopening. “We’ve been working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we’re here to support local businesses preparing to reopen and residents getting ready to return to work,” stated Dr. Jorge Rubal, the Clinic’s CEO and Medical Director.

Understanding that Laguna residents have been hit hard by the economic impacts of the pandemic, the Clinic wants locals to know that they offer a variety of low-cost payment options for a full spectrum of health services. 

Laguna Beach Rubal

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Laguna Beach Community Clinic CEO and Medical Director Dr. Jorge Rubal

COVID-19 antibody testing is available as well as COVID-19 aftercare for those recovering from the virus or virus-like symptoms. Medical support remains available for those managing COVID-19 symptoms at home, and COVID-19 testing continues for the Clinic’s established patients.

The Back to Business program is easy to access, just call (949) 494-0761 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule an appointment. Those with an urgent need will be seen right away and those seeking a general health check-up will be scheduled within 5-7 days. 

The Clinic is open Monday through Saturday. Visit to learn more.

 The Laguna Beach Community Clinic is located at 362 Third St.

A walk in wonderland 

A walk church

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Photo by Steve Allegaert

A stroll on May 11 – near and far an abundance of beauty

Low tide lament

Low tide surfboard

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Photo by Steve Allegaert

Oak Street on May 12, so many rocks!

Paradise and a pup  

Paradise and a

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

All you need is the beach and a dog

Congressman Harley Rouda volunteers at Laguna Food Pantry


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Tuesday morning, Congressman Harley Rouda (CA-48) joined the volunteers at Laguna Food Pantry to distribute boxes of groceries to the cars waiting in line. Rouda was also on hand to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on lower-income communities, the extra burdens on families, and the resulting threat of food insecurity.

Rouda has been at home in Emerald Bay since February, sheltering in place just like the rest of the community.

Congressman Harley Susan

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Pantry Board Chair Susan Thomas and Congressman Rouda talk with first-time visitor who lost his job

Commending the volunteers and staff at Laguna Food Pantry, Rouda said, “These are the real heroes right now doing the important work for the vulnerable community members who are experiencing food insecurity and don’t have access to healthy food.” 

He has also volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

Congressman Harley food boxes

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Boxes are filled with a variety of food 

The Laguna Food Pantry collects and distributes 5,000 lbs of food every weekday from 8 to 10:30 a.m. They serve 500+ families a week in South Orange County, but this number has increased significantly since the COVID-19 outbreak. Approximately half of the shoppers have babies and children to feed.

According to Executive Director Anne Belyea, on May 7, the Pantry had 210 cars come through to pick up food.

Congressman Harley trunk

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Pantry Board Vic Chair and Volunteer Coordinator Lesli Henderson opens shopper’s trunk for Congressman Rouda 

Pantry Board Vic Chair and Volunteer Coordinator Lesli Henderson said, “There are a number of people who are out of work – restaurant and domestic workers.” The biggest increase has been in the working middle class. “There are also a lot of visitors on fixed incomes and a significant number of single parents.”

The Pantry has the drive-through process down to a science. Since the inside space was small and the shoppers would have been in close proximity, when social distancing was instituted, they switched to a drive-through process.

 Congressman Harley volunteers

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Volunteers arrive early to fill the food boxes before distribution begins

For tracking purposes, one volunteer takes the name of the driver and how many people or families are in the car and if the shoppers are new or returning. A volunteer opens the trunk/hatch and another volunteer deposits the box of food.

Some shoppers come by bus, which is difficult, since the buses have adopted a holiday schedule. In addition, they face the task of transporting the groceries back home on the bus.

Laguna Food Pantry is located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information about Laguna Food Pantry, go to

Resident hospitalized following coyote attack

At approximately 7:45 a.m. this morning, Friday, May 15, a coyote attacked a 91-year-old male resident in the driveway of his home on Oak Street near Temple Terrace. The resident was in his driveway by himself, and the coyote came up behind him and bit him on the legs. The coyote caused significant bite injuries to the resident’s legs, with blood coming out. The resident was transported to the hospital. 

“The resident will be OK and recover from his injuries,” said LBPD Sgt PIO Jim Cota. “The injuries consisted of four teeth puncture wounds in each calf. There were no dogs or other animals present that would have provoked the attack.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to capture the coyote in question. The City has asked residents to be vigilant and alert until the coyote is captured. 

The City would also like to take this opportunity to remind residents of important safeguards to protect themselves and their pets and property from these wild animals.

Like most communities located in semi-rural areas, Laguna Beach has active coyote populations. Due to the brushy canyon areas and natural “den-type” rock formations, our hillsides provide an attractive environment for coyotes and other animals. However, coyotes do not require open space to survive, and have successfully adapted to living in close proximity to humans. 

Coyotes are most active at dusk and dawn, and in urban environments they are more active at night but they can be seen at any time of day. The primary threat coyotes usually pose is to pets that are allowed to run loose. Animal Services recommends that pets not be let outside during evening hours unless the owner is next to the pet to prevent a coyote attack.

A Laguna Beach Animal Control Officer will respond to coyote calls if a coyote is seen in the daytime in areas around people, especially children, or any time there is an attack or threatening behavior towards a person or pet. If you have any concerns regarding wild animals, or see a coyote in a residential area, please call Laguna Beach Animal Services at (949) 497-0701. You may also report coyote sightings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3,749 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 43 reported cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 13, reflect that there have been 3,749 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 147 new cases reported today. Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 43 cases to date, a net increase of two cases today.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.814 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 53 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 4.522 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 130 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 144 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 581 reported cases to date, a net increase of 36 cases today. Santa Ana has had 586 reported cases to date, a net increase of 16 cases today.

The County reports 314 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 80 deaths due to COVID-19, including three deaths reported today. 248 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 98 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 57,167 people as of today, with a 6.6 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

3,749 reported cases 1

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3,749 reported cases 3

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 13;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily

Hoag Hospital presents chain of gratitude using #OCTogether sharing stories of everyday heroes

Hoag Hospital is calling on Orange County to help launch a social media campaign to celebrate our local heroes in Orange County. During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers – such as Hoag’s physicians, nurses, technicians, and staff have made personal sacrifices, put their own health at risk and remained resilient in service to our community. 

Countless others have done the same from law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store workers, postal carriers, delivery drivers, daycare professionals, restaurant owners and workers, along with neighbors, friends, and family members. Heroes are everywhere, and they deserve our appreciation.

Hoag Hospital outside

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Hoag Medical Group in downtown Laguna

Hoag Hospital has created a chain reaction of gratitude that will spread all over Orange County. You can join in by giving your pandemic hero a virtual shout-out, and then pay it forward by nominating more friends to do the same. Help keep the news positive and remind everyone that we are in this together…#OCTogether!

How to participate:

--Take a selfie video and give a shout-out to your hero in Orange County. Nominate three more friends/family members to participate.


--“My hero is … [short description of who and why]…I nominate my friends _____, _____, and _____ to give a shout out to their Orange County heroes.”

--Upload your video on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

Instagram: @hoaghealth; Facebook: @hoagofficial; Twitter: @hoaghealth.

In your post copy, tag the three friends you nominated. Use #OCtogether. Tag @hoaghealth for a feature on their channels.

 --Like and follow the Hoag social channels to view featured videos from our #OCTogether everyday heroes.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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