Community news: Whole Foods raises funds for Ascencia; Sam Adarme and Helen Reid to marry


The spirit of giving is continuing this week at Whole Foods in Glendale.

Ascencia, a program that helps homeless individuals and families, is benefiting from donations collected by employees of the grocery store chain through its Grab & Give project, said Becky Feliciano, Whole Foods marketing supervisor.

Customers at each register are asked to donate funds or they can purchase breakfast, lunch, dinner or a personal care kit for an individual or family in need. Shoppers can also tell the cashier to round up the bill to the next dollar and that change will be the customer’s donation. The campaign started in early November and continues until Dec. 31. So far it has raised more than $16,000 for Ascencia.

“There is only one store ahead of us,” Feliciano said. “We compete, so Newport Beach is No. 1 and Glendale is No. 2 in the whole overall promotion and donation collection.”

“It’s wonderful,” she said about helping the needy. “I can honestly say that we always try to do something for the less fortunate at this time. I always focus our community outreach to be something where we can help someone who is local and who’s needy and it always makes a surprisingly good feeling for me and our team members.”

Some of the cashiers are so motivated they raise $100 a day. Cashier Miguel Gonzalez has raised a total of $3,000, she said.

The store chose Ascencia because they had done the project with them before when it was called Path Achieve, Feliciano said. It is not only local but they work with the homeless to get them back on their feet with counseling, job search and housing resources.

“It is so amazing to have something like this so close to home that is this comprehensive,” she said.

Volunteer Steven John and his wife, Kristin, and friend Josh Grayson have been transporting food donations from the store to Ascencia.

“With the funds donated by shoppers, Whole Foods reached out to their vendors, such as Kashi and Wolfgang Puck, and secured huge amounts of healthy, nutritious, and of course delicious, food, along with dozens of boxes of personal hygiene products, ranging from shampoo to body lotions,” Steven John said.

Each time the truckloads of food and goods arrive at Ascencia, a small army of grateful volunteers and residents gathers to help unload the bounty, he said. There is joy written across every face as they see what has been done for so many this season thanks to the partnership between Whole Foods and Ascencia.

“For those working to get their legs back under them, the burden has been lightened a little, thanks to the thousands of pounds of donated goods,” he added.

Natalie Komuro, executive director at Ascencia, is thrilled with the timing because they have just opened the winter shelter and can use the products being donating through the Whole Foods project.

“The winter shelter is funded in a very bare-bones manner so having Whole Foods augment what we can offer people is just tremendous,” she said.

For more information, or to donate to Ascencia, visit or call (818) 246-7900.

Wedding bells ring with jingle bells

Love has once again found Samuel “Sam” Adarme, a longtime Glendale resident, after his wife of 39 years passed away.

A friend introduced him to Helen Reid and after a year of courtship, they have announced their engagement. A pre-wedding luncheon was held in Sam’s home on Dec. 2 with 30 guests attending.

Sam is a retired Senior Civil Engineer who worked for the city of Glendale Public Works Department for 26 years. Helen is a clinical laboratory scientist at a county hospital.

The couple will marry on Jan. 6 and a banquet will follow for about 300 people, some coming from as far away as Virginia and Texas. The bride and groom each will have five attendants.

After a honeymoon in Paris, the couple will return home to Glendale.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at