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Chris, Owner Asian Kitchen

Featured Article

Community Outreach

Local Organizations Making a Difference

Our community is a living, breathing entity that can respond like a caring friend. While we’re continuing to adjust to our new lives and the various challenges they may bring, there are ongoing community efforts that serve a vulnerable population right here in our own neighborhoods. If nothing else, these past few months have brought out the best in many - they’ve made us more compassionate and aware of the needs of others. Here are three extraordinary charitable endeavors that exemplify friendship, kindness and compassion:

#1: St. Timothy’s Knights of Columbus

WHAT IT IS: Community Food Pantry

WHO IT’S GOOD FOR:  Local Families in Need

WHERE IT IS:  St. Timothy Church, Laguna Niguel

St. Timothy’s Knights of Columbus is little-known but mighty source of community support in Laguna Niguel. Founded on the principles of charity and unity in 1882, the Catholic’s men’s fraternity puts faith into action and service.   

The Knights coordinated a “Tasty Take-Out & Drive-Thru BBQ” on a warm Saturday evening in August when volunteers served a BBQ meal to over 200 attendees.  Coordinated by St. Tim’s member and fellow Knight, renowned Chef Fredric Castain, the evening was complete with a professional jazz singer serenading attendees.

Funds were specifically raised for much needed retractable awnings over the doors at St. Timothy’s Food Pantry.

“During these very challenging times the St. Timothy’s Knights of Columbus wanted to create an event where the parish could come together and support our brothers and sister of the community,” said Joe Bailey, Chancellor, St Timothy’s Knights of Columbus.

The Food Pantry is open to anyone in the community who has a need. A volunteer staff distributes food every Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to noon to over 100 families. Normally, attendees can shop in the pantry, but during the pandemic, they drive up for groceries and produce donated by Second Harvest Food Bank.

Donations to the Food Pantry are welcome. Items should be nonperishable such as canned goods, pasta, rice and peanut butter and can be brought to the church courtyard  entrance Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. St. Timothy Church is located at 29102 Crown Valley Pkwy in Laguna Niguel.

#2: South County Outreach

WHAT IT IS: Human Services Organization

WHO IT’S GOOD FOR:  Homeless and At-Risk Individuals and Families

WHERE IT IS:  Based in Lake Forest but Serves Greater South Orange County

South County Outreach is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, human services organization providing safety-net services to South County residents. For more than 30 years, its mission is preventing hunger and homelessness by ‘helping people help themselves’. Their housing program includes 17 condominiums that provide transitional and affordable housing and rapid re-housing opportunities. Homeless prevention services includes case management, rental and utility assistance. 

A large food pantry features fresh produce, lean meat, dairy, bread, and nonperishable food items at no charge. The goal is for clients to make nourishing meals for their families. Open Monday through Friday, the program serves over 1,500 residents a month and has remained open and operational throughout the pandemic.

Volunteers are crucial to South County Outreach services as they interact with clients, sort food and stock shelves in the food pantry, pick up donations and help with their retail store, Upscale Resale Thrift Store in Laguna Hills.

Groups can also host a Community Food Drives. To learn more or to get involved, call (949) 380-8144 ext. 217 or visit www.sco-oc.org.

#3: Great Plates Delivered

WHAT IT IS: Meal Delivery Program for Older Adults

WHO IT’S GOOD FOR:  Vulnerable Senior Citizens

WHERE IT IS:  Throughout South Orange County

Last April, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of a first-in-the-nation “Great Plates Delivered” program, a meal delivery service for California’s older adults. The program has two purposes:

  1. Help seniors and other adults at high risk from COVID-19 to stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day.
  2. Provide essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

Laguna Niguel’s own Asian Kitchen is a proud participant in the program.

“Our customers helped build our restaurant and continue to support us throughout the pandemic and this is a way for us to give back to the community,” says Asian Kitchen owner Chris Lian.

The popular Asian and Chinese restaurant in Laguna Heights Marketplace is staying busy these days but they grateful serve the community and provide support to seniors.

Preparing and delivering for Great Plates Delivered has replaced the usual slow build up during lunch with a flurry of cooking and meal preparation. Each day, they prepare over thirty-five meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and deliver to seniors in need from San Clemente to Irvine. 

Lian points out that for many seniors, this program is a lifeline. New clients join every week, so they push themselves to maintain quality while increasing capacity and of course, providing the finest cuisine for their customers.  He said, “It’s been hard but meaningful work and we look forward to continuing our support of those in need.”

  • Chris, Owner Asian Kitchen