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Sally’s Fund extends senior services

Sally’s Fund provides Laguna’s seniors with transportation that enables them to continue the independent lifestyle they treasure.

The free service has included trips to medical appointments, grocery and errand shopping, the senior lunch program at Legion Hall and social activities since 1982 for seniors unable or unwilling to drive. For the first three months of the New Year, Sally’s Fund will try out an extension of the service to the Susi Q to test its usefulness.

“I am on the Susi Q Transportation Committee,” said past Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. President Louise Buckley, who no longer drives. “It will be interesting to see how this works.”

Seniors who have given up driving and are dependent on friends or public transportation to go the Susi Q — and those who enjoy riding with others or consider it pleasurable and environmentally wise — are invited to use the service by appointment.

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“The reason we are doing a three-month trial is that we are not sure that we will always be able to fit people into the schedule because of space and time limitations,” said Sally Rapuano, executive director of the service. “The trial period beginning January 2010 will give us a chance to see how beneficial the service is.”

Sally’s Fund was founded by Jane Mortimer, Trudi Ofter and Walter von Gremp and named for his mother.

“It is just serendipitous that my name is Sally,” said Rapuano, who also serves as director of the La Playa program at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church where adults can learn to speak English with accompanying child care.

Rapuano has been executive director of Sally’s Fund since 2003. She used to drive until help was hired.

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Transportation for the trips to the Susi Q will mostly be driven by Jon Davidson in the Sally’s Fund van.

“I enjoy reaching out to others in the community because of my firm belief that there are no strangers, only potential friends to be made,” Davidson said. “Friends that I have found in Sally’s Fund have been interesting people and some real characters too, all with fascinating stories.

“But, my primary motivation for serving the elderly comes from my conviction that within every soul there is an innate desire to not only receive love but to express it freely. I receive a rewarding and deep satisfaction through my own outward expression of such love while striving to selflessly serve Laguna Beach seniors, and I’ve joyfully come to realize the truth in the saying that it is in giving that we receive,” said Davidson, who has been driving for Sally’s Fund since 2003.

“He always gets high praises for the work he does,” Rapuano said.

Transportation is also provided in a passenger car driven by Liz Gapp, the director of client services for Sally’s Fund.

She has been with the service from the beginning and has extensive experience with seniors and their needs Rapuano said.

Davidson drives the local trips, Gapp drives people to doctor appointments and other activities up to 40 miles outside of town, Rapuano said.

She has become a vital connection to many of Laguna’s vulnerable seniors and is grateful that she can be there if they need of someone to whom they can talk.

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“I am thankful that Sally’s Fund gives me the opportunity to spend time with seniors, particularly when they need reassurance after a difficult doctor’s appointment,” Gapp said. “An example of this is a woman who had radiation and wound care appointments every day for two months, definitely an arduous time. I was there to give her the support and reassurance she desperately needed.”

Sally’s Fund is available for all of Laguna Beach’s seniors with transportation and other needs.

“Now we are reaching out to those who need transportation to the [Susi Q] center for the classes and activities offered there,” Rapuano said.

For transportation to the Susi Q, call at least a week ahead (949) 715-1862. For other destinations call (949) 499-4100.



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