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A Heartfelt Thank You This Holiday Season

When we filmed our 25th Anniversary video, we asked Dr. Elli Abtahi, a dentist who provides free care to our clients, why she supports Friendship Shelter. “It’s not a matter of why,” she replied. “Why not?”

For 25 years, this “Why not?” approach to helping people rebuild their lives has defined us. We’re small enough to provide individualized, personal help for the homeless people who come through our doors. And, we’ve grown large enough to have resources like psychiatry, dentistry, health care, legal assistance and more available.

Friendship Shelter’s approach is simple -- create an atmosphere of abundance, removing all obstacles that are within our control so our clients can focus on the things only they can change: Find a job. Save money. Get sober. Face mental health challenges. We consider it our job to move obstacles out of their way so they can focus on these critical challenges.

Aimee and J.R. did that work, and today they are reaping the rewards of their courageous and difficult journey. Before Friendship Shelter, Aimee was living in a leaky abandoned tree house. From there she began addressing her addiction, and through her 12-step meetings found Friendship Shelter. Today, she works full time and lives in her own apartment. She credits us with her success, but we know it’s Aimee who did the hard work.

J.R. had lost hope. His inspiration to try once more to break the cycle of poverty and addiction was his mother. “I didn’t want her to have to bury her son a loser,” J.R. says. At Friendship Shelter, J.R. found the support and time to rebuild his life. Now, his successful painting business supports not only J.R. but two employees as well. Like Aimee, J.R. says Friendship Shelter made the difference. We’re proud to have shared his journey.

Before you make your year-end financial donations, I hope you’ll log on to to view our short 25th Anniversary video. There, you’ll meet Aimee, J.R., and others whose lives you’ll touch by supporting Friendship Shelter. You’ll learn more about Friendship Shelter, our history and our approach to helping homeless people become self-sufficient. And you’ll meet Dr. Elli, who will challenge you with her simple question: “It’s not ‘why’ – why not?”

Why not rebuild a life this holiday season?

Dawn Price

Executive Director

P.S. In 25 years, we’ve helped more than 7,000 people like Aimee and J.R. move from hopelessness, addiction and despair to self-sufficiency. But we have little time to reflect. Our waiting list is always full. We know there are many more Aimees and J.R.s out there waiting for our help. We’re committed to be there for them.

Why not join us?

Many Thanks to Our Generous Donors and Volunteers this Holiday Season

Special Holiday Gifts and Volunteers

Pacific Life Foundation

Donated money for the purchase of two new washers and dryers at our self-sufficiency program in Laguna Beach.

Kathleen Christensen

Donated money for the purchase of a new stove

Community Learning Center at Top of the World Elementary School in Laguna Beach

Continuing a tradition that has gone on for more than two decades, 1st through 4th grade students and their parents made individual gift baskets full of handmade presents for every resident in our self-sufficiency program.

Laguna Presbyterian Church

Provided a giving tree for Christmas, weekly lunches

and a brunch for residents

Laguna Beach Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Donated gift cards and sheets, and new vacuum cleaners for our self-sufficiency program

Saddleback Church

Donated presents for ASL

National Charity League

Hosted a Christmas tree decorating party for the self-sufficiency program residents and donated new bulletin boards, pillows, blankets and sheets

Little Church by the Sea

Hosted a Christmas party for the self-suffciency

program residents

Susie Q Donated knitted scarves, hats and gloves for residents.

St. Mary’s Syriac Orthodox Church Youth Group

Donated filled Christmas Stockings for all programs.

Monica Furman

Made Thanksgiving dinner for residents in our

self-sufficiency program

Jene Witte

Will provide and serve Christmas Eve dinner

Bob Sachs

As he has done for many years, will be providing

Christmas morning brunch

Laguna Beach High School

Donated tickets to their Christmas concert so residents

could enjoy the music.

Donna Vigil

Tickets and transportation to the Nutcracker ballet for our residents in the self-sufficiency program.

Laguna Beach United Methodist

Providing Christmas Dinner and Breakfast for ASL residents

Spotlight on Volunteers

This month we’d like to thank all of the groups that provide regular meals for our emergency shelter residents at the Laguna Beach Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL). The ASL provides overnight accommodations for 45 people, but dinner is often served to 60 or more homeless or otherwise disadvantaged people. Most of these groups have been providing weekly meals since the ASL opened its doors on November 12, 2009. Since that date, they have provided nearly 90,000 meals! We are humbled and grateful by their continuing service!

Z Pizza

Soroptimist Club

Village Laguna

Neighborhood Congregational Church

St Catherine of Siena Parish

Laguna Presbyterian Church

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church

Laguna Beach Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Ann Richardson

Rock Harbor Christian Church

Coast Hills Community Church

Santa Margarita Catholic High School

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