Nirvana Grille and Sally’s Fund partner to deliver Easter dinners to homebound seniors

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Easter Day was anything but tradition this year, but Lindsay Smith-Rosales, chef/owner of Laguna Beach-based Nirvana Grille, teamed up with the city’s senior services and transportation 501(c)(3) nonprofit Sally’s Fund to make it one to remember for some of the city’s homebound seniors. 

Together, Nirvana Grille and Sally’s Fund provided 140 Easter dinners to the most vulnerable elderly members in the community (most were Vista Aliso and Alice Court). The two-course meal that included a turkey, ham, or chicken entrée, mashed Yukon potatoes, green beans with herb butter, fresh-baked baguette, and dessert, was funded by last-minute donations to Sally’s Fund.

Executive Director of Sally’s Fund Rachael Berger reports that the response has been amazing. 

Nirvana Grille van

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Sally’s Fund

(L-R) Volunteer, Chef Lindsay, Sally’s Fund Driver Jason Pastore, and Sally’s Fund Executive Director Rachael Berger

Susana Cruciana says, “I was so surprised and thankful to have a divine honey ham meal with real mashed potatoes, green beans, and dessert appear at my door from these wonderful volunteers at Sally’s Fund! Thank you so much, Nirvana! I’m making it last three days!”

An anonymous recipient comments, “Got real chicken dinner, so good...thanks Sally’s Fund.” 

Sally’s Fund has been serving Laguna Beach seniors since 1982. 

“In a typical year, Sally’s Fund makes over 7,000 trips for our local Laguna Beach seniors, transporting and escorting them to medical appointments, grocery shopping, running errands, and doing wellness checks,” said Berger. “Many of the people we serve have disabilities due to old age, are low income without family nearby to assist, and have increased anxiety and fear as a result of COVID-19.”

Nirvana Grille meal

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Nirvana Grille

Scrumptious Easter dinner

“A wonderful trolley driver delivered a huge bag filled with goodies,” says Pam Nelson. “Then came back because he forgot the sweets. No amount of thanks can ever be enough. I am so very blessed to be a part of this loving and close-knit community. I would love to pay it forward someday. You are all truly angels that keep on giving warm fuzzies to Laguna Beach. Again – God Bless you all and keep you safe.” 

Sally’s Fund carries on with services 

Sally’s Fund is committed to continue delivering at least 100 bags of groceries each week including necessities like toilet paper and masks. Berger says, “Our drivers may be the only people seniors see each week and they are extremely grateful for the help we provide them.” 

Bette Due praises Sally’s Fund volunteers, “Thanks for all the good information. Miss you all. Love all of you ladies.”

From Phyllis Wilson, “Jason has delivered me some wonderful groceries yesterday and today. Doing well! Can’t thank you enough.” 

Nirvana Grille trays

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Nirvana Grille

Chef Lindsay in foreground, preparing meals

Nirvana Grille took immediate action

Chef Lindsay was quick to respond to the unprecedented challenge that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon the community. Prior to the “stay-at-home” restrictions, she had an “ah-ha” moment after seeing a social media post of empty shelves at a local grocery store. Those photos gave her the idea to create an online market co-op filling a need for both her restaurant suppliers and her customers; restaurant suppliers would have a new sales channel with items other restaurants stopped ordering, and residents an alternative method to shop for grocery items, cleaning supplies, and household necessities. This idea came to fruition within hours and on her first social media post about the Nirvana Grille Co-Op, she received hundreds of responses and has never looked back. 

Nirvana Grille co op

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Nirvana Grille

A sampling of groceries from the Nirvana Grille co-op

Moving forward, Nirvana Grille and Sally’s Fund would like to see their collaboration grow to service Orange County hospital and healthcare workers, police, and other first responders with regular meal deliveries. To fund this, Nirvana Grille has added “donation” buttons to their online platform where people can donate to their effort for one or all of the categories. To access, click here.

Berger says, “Sally’s Fund wants to thank all the generous donors in the community that supported our efforts, showing kindness and care for the most vulnerable in Laguna Beach.” 

From Melanie Vargas, “This is Melanie, Barbara’s daughter. My mom and I have been talking about how wonderful it is that even with this COVID-19 virus, Sally’s Fund is still helping out so many people. My mom would like to make a small $250 dollar donation to help contribute.” 

Nirvana Grille delivering

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Sally’s Fund

Rachael Berger and Jason Pastore delivering Easter dinner to resident

More kudos for Sally’s Fund

On behalf of her mother Sara Pardo Figueroa, Monica Crawford says, “Thank you again for your concern and your support, Rachael! Sending you blessings and hugs and kisses.” 

Michelle Venya says, “Laguna seniors are very lucky to have such a resource. Great job, Rachael… stay well.”

For more information on Sally’s Fund, go to https://sallysfund.org/.