“Volunteering is love in motion,” Hazel Tate told Circling the News on January 22. If that is the case, Tate must have one of the biggest hearts in Pacific Palisades.
When the Covid pandemic closed down Los Angeles in March, Tate wanted to find a way to help those who might be experiencing food insecurity. She discovered the Hang Out Do Good website, which suggested making sack lunches for those in need. These lunches would be distributed by the Hollywood Food Coalition.
Tate reached out to friends in the El Medio Bluffs neighborhood and explained how they could pack a sandwich, fruit, chopped vegetables, chips, nuts, a muesli bar, a sweet treat and water. If people wanted to include a mask, hand sanitizer, gloves or tissues, that would also be appreciated..
“We started with four families and 40 lunches,” Tate said, and shortly before Christmas, more than 500 sacks were delivered to the Tate’s driveway for delivery to Hollywood. Last week more than 380 lunches were left on the driveway.
On Nextdoor, Tate writes weekly, “It’s as simple as making up 10 sack lunches at home and delivering them to our driveway (social distanced, mask on) on Sunday morning by 10 a.m.”
She adds that “bags of groceries are also appreciated” and that a handwritten note or artwork from children are “much loved.”
“This is an activity that the whole family can participate in,” Tate told CTN, noting that the Hollywood Food Coalition has been in operation since the 1980s and now serves thousands of folks weekly. “It’s a great project to share with your kids, too.”
A couple of Tate’s neighbors drive the sack lunches to Hollywood, so they can be distributed by 2 p.m. “They drive away every Sunday with sacks of ‘kindness,” she said. “It’s a real community effort.”
Some of the vendors at the Palisades Farmers Market also contribute to the effort, Tate said.
Hazel and her husband, actor Nick Tate, have lived in Pacific Palisades since the late 1980s. He’s a well-known Australian and English actor, who achieved international recognition with his role in “A Cry in the Dark,” starring Meryl Streep.
After completing the CBS/Paramount series “Dolphin Cove,” where Ellen DeGeneres played his secretary, Paramount invited Nick to audition for Fox’s “Open House.” When he landed the role, which lasted two yeas, he and Hazel and their two children, Nick and Jessie, moved to the Palisades.
Nick appeared in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook,” “The Public Eye” and “Bed of Roses” and numerous television shows, such as “Murder She Wrote,” “Matlock,” “Civil Wars,” “Party of Five,” “FX: The Series,” “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman,” “JAG,” “The X Files” and “Star Trek.”
While her husband was working in Hollywood, Hazel Tate turned her attention to volunteering in local schools. She was one of the parents who raised more than $150,000 for an irrigation system and raised gardens for the outdoor science garden at Paul Revere Middle School. Before the funding raising campaign, the property was “syringes, graffiti and broken glass,” Tate said. Her group also received a $25,000 Kirk Douglas grant to help restore the greenhouse at Revere.
While at Palisades High, son Tom, played football, soccer and had the lead roles in several musicals. He also won the Mr. Palisades competition, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
Tate worked with Pacific Palisades Executive Director, Arnie Wishnick, for several years. “I helped at all the events that the Chamber used to do,” she said. “Arnie was such a lovely man.”
For several years, Tate ran Local Color, an artists’ cooperative of 10 women, involving mothers from local schools.
Hazel and her husband have loved living in Pacific Palisades. She remembers once when she was reading the message board in Bay Pharmacy and a man came up behind her and asked, “Is anyone looking for an old man?” She turned around and there was Walter Matthau.
Now, Hazel’s children are grown, she has two grandchildren, and everyone is home during the pandemic.
And the sack lunch project continues because “people want to help,” she said. “Its in our nature.”
Pack a sack lunch, write the contents on the outside; deliver 10 lunches by 10 a.m. to the driveway at 516 Arbramar Avenue in the El Medio Bluffs. Text Hazel with questions: (310) 382-0909.
CAN’T PACK A LUNCH?
GROCERY FOOD ITEMS TO CONSIDER
1. Everyone donates boxed Kraft Mac & Cheese, but it needs milk and butter, which is hard to get from food banks.
2. Boxed milk is a treasure — kids need it for cereal, which is donated a lot.
3. Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles.
4. Canned foods should have pop tops — or donate can openers.
5. Oil is a luxury needed for Rice-A-Roni, which is donated frequently.
6. Spices, such as salt and pepper are sought.
7. Tea bags and coffee are also a treat.
8. Sugar and flour are rarely given.
9. Important is fresh produce.
10. Tuna and crackers make a good lunch
11. Hamburger helper is given, but there’s no meat to use with it.
12. Lots of peanut butter and jelly are donated, but no sandwich bread
13. Butter or margarine are good
14. Eggs are a commodity
15. Cake mixes and frosting makes it possible to make a child’s birthday cake
16. Dishwashing detergent is expensive and appreciated
17. Feminine hygiene products are a luxury.