Around the Town: Helping Others during the Crisis


The Irene Dunne Guild has raised money to sponsor showers for Saint John’s Health Center workers to use after their shifts and before they return home.

This year, funds from the Irene Dunne Guild’s yearly patron drive are going to help support doctors and nurses at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The drive is a letter-writing campaign from the more than 120 Guild members to friends, families and associates in the community requesting donations.

So far, money raised from the drive has been used to rent dressing room trailers. These trailers allow staff to shower and change before leaving the hospital for home. Guild funds have also paid for a laundry service to wash the scrubs for the staff and purchased new scrubs to have on hand when needed.

Additionally, 10 new iPads were bought and distributed between intensive care, emergency room and the progressive coronary care unit. One of the iPads was for labor and delivery so the fathers, who cannot be in the hospital, can see their new babies when they are born.

Each year, the Guild, which has about 51 Palisadian members, typically provides more than $100,000 to St. John’s and has funded a natural birthing center, an ultrasound machine, portable childbirth monitors, an OB/GYN table and a Fast Track system for the emergency room.

And the Guild has created numerous programs, including a hospital gift shop, a volunteer effort called Angels of the ER, a library of books, CDs and DVDs for patients and waiting loved ones, toys for children in the hospital, childbirth classes, lactation classes and a clothing closet to aid patients.

Founded in 1987, the Guild has raised more than $17 million for Saint John’s vital programs, equipment and special projects. The guild is named for actres Irene Dunne, who was a lifelong supporter of St. John’s Hospital.



“Help Feed the Frontline Fighting Covid-19 LA” is now serving both the daytime and nighttime shifts, delivering 14,000 meals (lunches and dinners) to hospital workers who are on the frontline 24/7.

The effort started with a small group of Kenter Canyon Elementary and Paul Revere Middle School moms, who asked the sister of one of the emergency room doctors at Kaiser, what was needed. She said, “protective gear and a decent meal.”

Brooke Williamson

The women then partnered with a dad, Jeff Berman, and Top Chef Brooke Williamson, who co-owns three restaurants with her husband, to form “Help Feed the Frontline.”

The women — Erin Arend, Sarah Harden, Alison Kuperberg, Shannon Pruitt and Nora Skinner — say they have expanded to 13 hospitals and two fire stations per week, with requests for 5,000 more meals and a waitlist of 55 restaurants ready to supply meals. They have raised more than $671,000 in 23 days.

Every meal is being supplied by local restaurants working hard to keep its business operational.

Participating hospitals now include: Adventist Health White Memorial, Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser, Keck, Martin Luther King Jr. Community, UCLA – Santa Monica, UCLA – Reagan, Little Company of Mary – Torrance, Little Company of Mary – San Pedro, Lawndale and Hawthorne Firefighters, Providence St. John’s, USC Dept. Emergency Medicine and Verdugo Hills.

The women said that this was also an opportunity to have their children involved and that “Our kids have learned that every dollar from their piggy bank counts – they can make a meaningful contribution to show their gratitude to these healthcare heroes.”

Raising funds through GoFundMe, the group has partnered with World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by renowned chef José Andrés (famous for his relief kitchens in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico) that uses the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis and beyond. After disasters, WCK activates with the urgency of now to get fresh meals to those who need them most. All donations are tax deductible.

A $25 donation will cover the cost for lunch and dinner for two heath care workers and $175 will provide lunch and dinner for 14.

(Visit: and when prompted for a team member select Erin Arend).



YMCA Executive Directory Jim Kirtley is seeking donations to help the homeless.

The Palisades-Malibu YMCA is gathering donations for the homeless and for the Y’s shower kit program every afternoon in front of the YMCA, 821 Via de la Paz, from 3 to 6 p.m. Most needed are towels, socks, feminine products, deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste and a comb or brush. Or you can buy the items online and have them sent to the Y or make a donation of $50 that will provide two shower kits. Visit

Additionally, Executive Director Jim Kirtley wants to help support the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. Glanda Sherman, the social worker who was hired by the community through The People Concern, has requested the following items: wipes, cough drops, Scope mouth wash, water, Emergen C or any immunity booster, alcohol wipes, bandages and antibiotic ointment (small individual use pack).


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