NewLeftHeader

clear sky

53.8°F

Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 5  |  January 15, 2021


Club founded by LBHS junior helps people in the community experiencing homelessness

By DIANNE RUSSELL 

In March of 2020, Eva Fast, a junior at Laguna Beach High School, founded a club to provide meals to the people in our community who are experiencing homelessness. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures, creating an abrupt interruption in meal options for our local population. 

As the club approaches its one-year anniversary, Eva and the members of the club continue to accomplish a great deal.

Kristin, Eva’s mother, says, “We began, as a family, delivering approximately 20 bagged lunches every Saturday, first to the library and then, as restrictions lifted, to Main Beach. When Eva returned to school, she formed a club.”

In the beginning, Jayden Lund – a senior at LBHS and VP of the club – and his family participated along with the Fast family in preparing and delivering the lunches.

Delivering meals

Carrying on what the families started, “The club members drop off the food just before 9 a.m. every single Saturday, and they are just as pleased to help as the (mostly) men are to see them,” Kristin says.

Club founded Eva

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Founder and President Eva Fast with lunches ready to deliver

The club has now grown into a group of 40. The responsibilities of buying and preparing the lunches go to two appointed members every week, who each have a financial commitment of $20 for purchasing the food.

Reaching out to those who are experiencing homelessness is not a new endeavor for Eva. “I’ve been working with them all my life. My grandfather advocates for them here in Laguna. I’ve always had compassion and empathy for those experiencing homelessness by looking at them in a different way, trying to see what put them there, and viewing them as people.” 

The desire to be involved in this issue is shared by junior Issy King. “Eva and I have been friends for a while, and when I heard she founded a club dedicated to helping the homeless, I wanted to support her and also do something good for the community.”

The visits involve much more than just dropping off a meal.

While delivering lunches, the members interact with those at Main Beach. 

Eva says, “They offer to help carry the packages and then sit and chat to see what’s going on. I’m an ice skater, and they often ask about how that’s going.”

Club founded Jayden

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Vice President Jayden Lund shopping for groceries

In all cases, club participation has significantly altered the way members perceive those without permanent homes.

Issy says, “When I dropped off the food downtown, my boyfriend, Tyler Fields, and I had a great conversation with one of the men. He was so kind and was telling us about how appreciative he is to live in Laguna beach and see the ocean every day. “

“We usually socialize with three of the group down there. These three speak for all of them, and they (and we) have a mutual respect for each other,” Jayden says.

A change in perspective

Jayden admits that working with the group at Main Beach changes one’s perspective. After taking someone down there to help, the response was, “Well, that was not what I expected. They’re really nice.” 

“The club has helped me realize the extent of the issue in the community. There are so many more than meet the naked eye that are struggling to get through the week with sufficient food and resources. The club has also reminded me how nice, genuine, and kind-hearted the homeless in our community are,” says senior Griffin Kristensen. “Eva is super smart, hardworking, and good-hearted, so I knew her club would be a great success and great opportunity to help those in the community as soon as she told me about it.”

Club founded Griffin

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Griffin Kristensen loads waters 

Junior Maggie Meekma, says, “I decided to join Eva’s club as an opportunity to help and connect with those who are less fortunate within my community while also receiving community service hours for school. Eva’s club allows me to assist the homeless while also putting a smile on their faces.”

More ways to help

No one will deny that the subject of homelessness in our community is a complex one.

Jayden offers a comment, “For such a small town, Laguna has a lot of people experiencing homelessness. Laguna does great things for the schools, etc., but more interaction with community members would lead to connection and a willingness for residents to be more inclusive.”

Club founded Maggie

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Maggie Meekma ready with lunch bags

“There can never be too much funding for organizations and groups that hope to combat homelessness. So, I would say that I urge people and the city to give sufficient funds to organizations like ASL, etc.,” says Griffin. “Additionally, small, everyday actions can have a big impact – whether that is donating money or creating your own food drive.” 

“I think that Eva’s club is the perfect way for helping the community! It motivated me to be more involved in the homeless situation in Laguna. I think that maybe instead of doing 20 lunches packs once a week, we could instead do it twice or three times a week,” says Issy.

Looking to the future

Dedicated to continuing with the charge to help this segment of the population, the club is just the beginning for Eva, Jayden, Griffin, Issy, and Maggie.

Expanding her commitment, during the summer, Eva worked with the ACLU and will continue to work with small groups and keep advocating for those experiencing homelessness.

Club founded Issy

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Issy King loading sandwich bags into the car

As a senior major, Jayden worked with a non-governmental organization in Los Angeles, and with a higher level of resources, wants to continue working with those experiencing homelessness.

“This experience has shown me that the homeless are still very grateful for what little they have despite their struggles. I will continue to help the homeless in the future by spreading awareness regarding the issues of mental illness, poverty, unemployment, and addiction, which all contribute to the epidemic of homelessness. By encouraging the use of the homeless shelter, giving out lunches, and even donating small sums, I believe we will move a step closer towards helping the homeless situation in our beautiful town,” says Maggie.

Griffin says, “I hope that I can create or join a club like this one in college and continue to make an impact in my local community.”

“After joining Eva’s club and helping the homeless,” says Issy, “it motivated me to join another club at the high school that brings food to the food pantry.” 

In these challenging times, this is a particularly uplifting story – one that gives us pride in the younger generation and hope for the future.

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: [email protected] for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

Email: [email protected] with news releases, letters, etc.

949.315.0259

© 2021 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.