Garden volunteering at Marquez Charter School, school supplies drive in August, toy drive and toy wrapping in November/December. 


Gardening workshop at library and volunteer garden teaching at Marquez Charter School. School supplies drive in fall and toy drive in December.


January, 2016 Feeding the Homeless at Turning Point Transitional Housing. Promoted via Facebook. Purpose: Encourage others to volunteer and have compassion and learn about transitional housing options. (Note: Palisades Cares served dinner here 4-6 times a year). In addition, we publish updates about the activity on the Palisades Cares Facebook page. There are approximately 35-55 people residing at this location. No cost to performing this activity. Volunteers prepare and serve dinner. Time: 1 ¼ hours per evening. A photo from this activity can be seen on the Palisades Cares Facebook page.

On-going activity: weekly during the school year. Marie Steckmest volunteers as the garden teacher at Marquez Elementary Charter School for approximately 10 hours a week. See details below in 2015.

Children’s Gardening Workshop, Spring. Site: Pacific Palisades Library. Conducted by Marie Steckmest, UCCE Master Gardener. Workshops are 1 to 1 ½ hours feature instruction, planting opportunities and eating of vegetables. (Children’s gardening workshops received a grant for that purpose from the Pacific Palisades Garden Club in 2014.) Community members assist in the planting. Some respond to articles in local paper and others are local students doing community service.

Planned activity: Feeding the Homeless at Turning Point Transitional Housing, part of OPCC in Santa Monica. Purpose: Encourage others to serve meals to the homeless clients of OPCC and increase awareness of this organization and the homeless situation and ways to help. Promotion of this opportunity is via Facebook, our website at  www.Palisadescares.org, VolunteerMatch and the Palisades Cares blog, www.palisadescares.blogspot.com. Marie Steckmest co-ordinates the homeless feedings with Turning Point. Either she or other key volunteers solicit other volunteers and plan the menu. Volunteers meet at Turning Point and prepare and serve meals during the 1 ¼ hours.  

Planned activity: Earth Day plant give away and recycling activity at Palisades branch library patio or at the Pacific Palisades Farmers’ market. Purchasing of plants and preparation of activities to be done by Marie Steckmest and volunteers. Some volunteers scheduled to be students from Marquez Charter Elementary School.

Annual school supplies and backpack drive, August. This annual drive features 4-5 collection sites in Pacific Palisades. Residents donate new backpacks and school supplies for homeless kids tutored by School on Wheels, a 501 © 3. Volunteers take supplies to School on Wheels. Promotion is via local papers, Facebook and the Palisades Cares blog. Either Marie Steckmest or volunteers deliver and decorate boxes and put out pr.

Annual holiday toy drive, December. This annual drive features 4-5 collection sites in Pacific Palisades. Residents donate new unwrapped toys which are taken to non-profits that serve low income families. Recently the toys have been delivered to One Voice and School on Wheels. The last two years half of the toys were delivered to Vittorio’s, a local restaurant that gives a party for the School on Wheels kids. Volunteers wrap the toys and serve as elves.

Volunteer Gardening at Marquez Elementary Charter School, Pacific Palisades.  Marie Steckmest, a UCCE Master Gardener, spends approximately 10 hours weekly as the volunteer garden coordinator and teacher at Marquez. This activity embodies our main exempt purpose which is to encourage volunteering. We promotes the gardening as a volunteer activity in the Palisades community and among the school community. Currently two community volunteers assist. In addition, several parents assist during class time. During the year, other individuals, including four chefs, volunteered to cook and plant with the students. We network with organizations in the community and encourage them to help the school: In 2015 three local Boy Scouts did Eagle Projects benefiting the school garden. Local middle school students and community members helped during a spring garden workday. Blogposts about the garden program can be found at www.marquezschoolediblegarden.blogpost.com.

Children’s gardening workshop, August 22. Purpose: encourage planting and eating of vegetables and encourage volunteers to help. Fifteen children, some with parents, attended the 1 ½ hour workshop at the Pacific Palisades Branch Library patio. Instruction was given on cool season vegetables and attendees were asked to identify their favorite vegetables.Children planted seedlings and seeds in biodegradable pots to take home and ate vegetables.  Marie Steckmest of Palisades Cares conducted the workshop, assisted by three volunteers who signed up based upon an article in the local paper. One volunteer was one of the children who has taken gardening classes from Marie Steckmest at Marquez Charter School.

School Supplies and Backpack Drive. August 2-22.The supplies go to homeless children who are tutored by School on Wheels, a non-profit. We involve the local community by having several drop off sites in town. Local volunteers take the supplies to the School on Wheels office. One of these students started a School on Wheels club at Palisades Charter High School and now tutors for School on Wheels. In addition, we publicize this via the two local papers, Facebook and the Palisades Cares blog.

Little Free Library Project. In 2014 we applied for and received grant from the local women’s club towards the cost of installation of a Little Free Library. We contacted various community groups via Facebook and email.  In the fall of 2014, local 4th grade Girl Scout group, based at Marquez Charter School, took on the project. They chose the library design, provided the labor, the remainder of the money and the initial books. They started work on the project in 2015. The library was installed adjacent to the elementary school in May, 2015.

Feeding the Homeless at Turning Point. January and March. See above description.  

 Holiday Toy Drive. December 1-15. Our annual toy drive to benefit low income families. This year’s drop off sites included CVS, the YMCA, Regal Cleaners, Benton’s Sporting Goods and Berkshire Hathaway Realtors. All sites are in Pacific Palisades. Promotion is via the two local papers, the Palisades Cares website and blog and Facebook page. In 2015 we collected 5 carloads of toys. Some went to One Voice and the others went to children living in homeless shelters that are tutored by School on Wheels.  Local community volunteers decorate the boxes and deliver to the drop off locations. They also distribute the toys to the recipient organizations.

Marquez Elementary Charter School. Steckmest volunteers as the garden teacher for grades 2-5. Other community members volunteer and support the edible garden program at the school.

MLK Jr. Day Community Service-Food Drive for the Westside Food Bank. January 20. Volunteers staffed tables at two local grocery stores-Gelson’s and Ralph’s. 834 lbs of food and $245 collected.

Know Your Farmer. Panel discussion about locally grown food on April 2. Featured Chef Alain Giraud, SM Farmers Market manager Laura Avery, farmers Molly Gean and Barbara Spencer. Funding by PPJWC grant of 2013. 80 people attended the event. Complimentary tastings provided by Maison Giraud.  nd farmers’ markets was imparted.

Children’s gardening workshop. This took place at the Pacific Palisades Library patio on May 10. Three community volunteers assisted. Volunteers read to children and planted seeds with children in newspaper pots. Marie Steckmest organized the event and gave plant advice to parents and children. Partly funded by the Pacific Palisades Garden Club grant.

Marquez Edible Garden Workday. May 18. Sixteen people volunteered including four middle school students who needed community service. This project was on Big Sunday weekend, a city-wide weekend of volunteering.

Reusable bag giveaway at farmers’ market. Local students volunteered. Palisades Cares donated bags-some new and some used.

School supplies and backpack drive for School on Wheels. August 7-22. Volunteers sort and deliver supplies. Same details as in 2015 explanation.

Holiday Toy Drive December, 2014. Three carloads of toys donated. Same drop off locations as in 2015.

Turning Point Dinners.  January, March, May and November. Approximately 9 volunteers each time. Approximately three are regulars and the rest are new ones who respond to Facebook and Volunteermatch postings.

Marquez Elementary Charter School. Steckmest volunteers as garden teacher.

School supplies drive. August 1-20 

Reusable bag giveaway with Heal the Bay. November 18. Fifteen volunteers distributed bags to shoppers and stores in the business area. Some volunteers were community members and others were students getting community service.

Holiday toy drive. December 5-20.

Turning Point dinners. Palisades Cares volunteers served dinner six times in 2013. Volunteers spent 1 ¼ hours at the shelter preparing and serving dinner.

Earth Day give-away of seedlings, seeds and reusable bags Location was the Pacific Palisades Farmers’ Market. Five volunteers distributed bags and seedlings. April 21.

Book drive for low income schools co-sponsored with the Palisades-Malibu YMCA. May, 2013. Drop offs at the YMCA.  
Emergency Preparedness meeting  The event was co-hosted with the Palisades-Malibu YMCA. January 15. We distributed emergency kits and emergency water boxes to the attendees. Distributed a list of car and home emergency kit contents.  (Distributed remaining kits to community members after this event.)  32 kits in total were distributed. This was funded by a grant from the Pacific Palisades Junior Women’s Club. This activity reflects our commitment to building community and working together. Articles in the local paper and on our website created awareness about emergency preparedness.

Children’s Garden Workshop. July 20. Location: Pacific Palisades Branch Library. Planting and story time for young children.

Lose Your Lawn  featuring Rick Silva from LADWP and Lili Singer from Theodore Payne Foundation. Ideas for turf removal and what to plant. February 26. No cost to this event. 28 attendees.

Organic gardening event. Christi Wilhelmi discussed her book, Gardening for Geeks, and answered gardening questions. Co-sponsored with the YMCA on May 15 at Aldersgate Retreat Center.  Wilhelmi donated a book. 20 people attended.

Farm to Table tasting at Marquez Charter School. 80 2nd graders and volunteer parents tasted organic food. Food supplied by Palisades Cares and volunteer Elisa Hunsiker.  Spring, 2013.

MLK Jr. Day food drive for Westside Food Bank on January 16.
 Screening of Forks over Knives at Aldersgate with volunteer provided vegan food.
 Screening of Queen of the Sun and discussion by Honeylove, a non-profit. Speakers volunteered.
Backpack and school supplies drive
Volunteers gave away donated reusable bags in Pacific Palisades as part of Heal the Bay’s Day without a Bag 
Holiday toy drive
Turning Point dinners-six times this year.

Book discussion at Village Books by Jimmy Williams and Susan Heeger, authors of From Seed to Skillet
Screening of Ingredients with panel discussion at KI featuring Evan Kleinman, Amelia Saltzman, Evan Funke and Barbara Spencer. A Palisades Reads event.
Discussion at Village Books with film producer, Corinne Boudreau
Author events based on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Screening of Bag It


Palisades Reads: Trio from Colburn School perform at restaurant in Pacific Palisades
Palisades Reads Discussion of Homelessness at Corpus Christi Church
Volunteers serve dinner at Turning Point Transitional Housing
Screening of Tapped at Calvary School. Discussion after with representatives of Heal the Bay, 5 Gyres
Breast Cancer Awareness with Dr. Susan Love and Dr. Mary Hardy at RCC. Book available for sale

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