“If I had clean clothes, I think people would treat me like a human being.”
This statement was made by a homeless gentleman named T-Bone ten years ago in Ventura County. Since that time, a network of Laundry Love projects has been developed across the nation. Nonprofit groups concerned about those living in poverty partner with laundromat owners. Once a month, participants are invited to do their laundry for free. Volunteers provide detergent, quarters and company. Sometimes they even bring activities for the kids and snacks for all.
This great project is alive and well in Lake Forest, CA, thanks in part to the generosity of Covington residents and the presence of Covington Chaplain, Fr. Rick Byrum. If you show up at the Sparklean Laundromat on the first Wednesday of the month, you will see upwards of 30 families waiting patiently to wash their clothes. On a recent Wednesday night, 150 loads of laundry were washed and many bags of donated clothing were distributed. There was also free pizza and dozens of candy-packed Easter eggs were distributed by volunteers.
In Lake Forest, Laundry Love happens thanks to Randy Simmons, the parishioners of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Santa Margarita, and the generosity of Covington residents. Find a Laundry Love project near you at www.laundrylove.org or start one yourself.
By Your Side End-of-Life Vigil Companion Training Coming to a Community Near You
Does end-of-life care have relevance for you personally or professionally? If so, the By Your Side Vigil Companion training program will bring your understanding to a whole new level. The program trains and equips volunteers to serve as compassionate companions for those who are at the end of life. The 5-week, 10 hour course covers the practical medical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of the end-of-life process. It provides participants with the knowledge and support needed to be with those approaching the end of life, while respecting all religious or spiritual beliefs. Volunteers serve in hospitals, care centers and senior-living communities, as well as in their congregations and even in their own families, so that no one who desires a companion dies alone. This year, trainings will be held at The Canterbury, The Covington, MonteCedro and several public venues. For more information, contact Susan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is What Affordable Housing with Services Looks Like
At six affordable senior communities in southern California, ECS and Creative Housing & Services are providing programs that focus on the physical, intellectual, social and spiritual needs of 500 residents. In this setting, the average income is $854 per month, one-third of which is paid in rent.
If you happen to live in one of these communities, you may have your day cut out for you! Should you go to the Music & Movement class, where the friends are as fun as the moves? Or is it Tuesday, when you will board the van and head to the children’s center where you can help at the craft table or hold a sleeping baby?
In addition to fitness and inter-generational activities, you can choose from a crowded calendar of on-site offerings.
Take a wellness class for help with chronic illness
Have your sense of balance assessed
Join the tile painting class or make a potluck dish
Pick up some low-cost produce at Healthy Harvest Market
Join the Mediation and Journaling class
Help salvage denim: volunteer with Sole Hope
Have your eyes examined by the UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic
Have your blood pressure checked without leaving home
As older adults, many of us are challenged by fixed incomes, health obstacles and isolation. But, thanks to a collaborative approach and a commitment to giving back, this is what aging-in-place looks like in the affordable senior living communities managed by ECS and Creative Housing & Services.
If you think Uganda is far away, think again. Residents at four ECS communities have had Ugandan children on their minds as they gather to trace and cut patterns out of denim for the Sole Hope project. The sets of denim pieces are later sent to Uganda, where local workers use them to make shoes for children. In this region, those who don’t have shoes experience a high incidence of debilitating foot infections that prevent them from living active lives. In addition to providing shoes, Sole Hope partners with local medical teams to treat the infections caused by jiggers and mites, and to teach families the basics of wound care and how to disinfect their homes.
“It’s fun to get together and do something to help kids. In this case, we don’t even have to leave home and we enjoy some good fellowship in the process,” said Canterbury resident Lucille Poole. We learned about Sole Hope from Ruthanne Miller, a resident at St. John’s Manor in Costa Mesa. The project was piloted at St. John’s but quickly spread to other ECS communities, including The Covington in Aliso Viejo, The Canterbury in Rancho Palos Verdes and Casa de los Amigos in Redondo Beach. Find out more at www.solehope.org.
Now in its 94th year of service, Episcopal Communities & Services (ECS) is meeting its mission in many exciting ways. MonteCedro, our new Life Plan community in Altadena, has received its Certificate of Authority and transitioned from a start-up to a sustainable community. In addition, MonteCedro’s temporary bonds, $95 million in total, were redeemed in March, four years ahead of schedule. The community is thriving with exceptional residents and staff!
MonteCedro’s Creative Living Academy, a unique lifelong learning program, features expert presenters, many of whom are residents themselves. MonteCedro residents are also very active volunteers, both at home and in the community at large. As part of the MonteCedro Dime Card Series of Changemakers, we recently hosted Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and Gil Garcetti, former Los Angeles District Attorney, who spoke about his office’s high-profile cases, including the O.J. Simpson case.
The Canterbury in Rancho Palos Verdes was recently named a “Salute to Business Honoree” by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. A number of exciting updates are taking place on campus. Contractors have completed a redesign of all residential halls and passageways, as well as a complete renovation of the main dining room. Enhancements to the nursing care center and the buildings’ exteriors are in the planning stage.
At The Covington in Aliso Viejo, we are thrilled with the re-creation of Schumacher Hall, the venue for many of the performances in the Schumacher Concert Series. Recent seasons have included such top tier acts as Opera Chapman, Liberace protégé Craig Dahn, the Long Beach Opera and the Los Angeles Ballet. We are grateful to donor Margaret Schumacher for her many contributions to The Covington.
ECS has been providing housing, care and services to older adults since our founding in 1923. In addition to our three Life Plan communities, we continue to do this at the six affordable housing communities that we manage in Southern California (see story on page 7). We also continue to care for the former residents of Scripps Kensington, who came together for their 6th annual reunion in June, thanks to the generosity of the Halcyon Club. ECS has much to celebrate, including the recent renewal of our A- Fitch rating. At this stage in our history, we are going strong!