Leon Worden

Wine auction to benefit Senior programs

Leon Worden · September 18, 1996

It's not the sort of thing that is particularly pleasant to think about. It's a little like admitting to ourselves that even some Valencia kids might have access to drugs. It's the sort of thing that just doesn't happen in the Santa Clarita Valley.

But the simple truth is, there are many people among us who would go hungry if not for the generosity of others.

No, I'm not implying that there are hordes of homeless people in our midst. There aren't. We've got a few, but it hasn't reached epidemic proportions yet. And I'm not talking about anyone who might have brought his plight upon himself. No. I'm talking about our seniors.

Specifically, I'm talking about a very special group of a few hundred frail and elderly Santa Clarita residents who, through no fault of their own, have nothing more than their $650 monthly Social Security checks to live on. You know, the income that Bill Clinton decided to tax a few years back.

Were it not for the meals that the SCV Senior Center provides on a daily basis, these particular senior citizens literally might not eat. Our City Council wisely voted last week not to raise Dial-A-Ride rates for these seniors, so at least they can afford to travel to the Senior Center. But there is no guarantee that once they get there, they will get fed. Not, that is, without your help.

You see, the Meals on Wheels program is not fully subsidized by your tax dollars. Nor should it be, to my way of thinking, as long as private charity can make up the difference. That's where you and I come in. It's that time again. It's time to pay the piper, time to put our hard-earned dollars where our anti-tax mouths are. It's time for another Wine Auction!

Every year, City Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy organizes a fabulous wine auction at Le Chene restaurant in Saugus to benefit Meals on Wheels and other Senior Center programs. And every year, it's great fun and a huge success that makes a big difference for the needy in our valley. Last year's wine auction netted over $20,000 for the seniors and kept the Meals on Wheels program afloat.

This Saturday, a $35 ticket will buy you a meal (see the irony?) and a passport to the gorgeous garden at Juan Alonso's fine French restaurant where, for the last several years, Signal paragraphist Dan Hon has brokered many exceptional wines to some truly spirited auction-goers.

This year's auction will feature a wide range of Cabernets, Merlots, Zinfandels, Sauvignon Blancs and other varieties that Jo Anne and her crew have acquired over the last few months from California's best-known vintners. A sampling from some intriguing private reserves will round out the selection.

The auction has gotten bigger and better every year, and Jo Anne would be the first to tell you that Saturday's event would not be possible without the help of dozens of volunteers, both behind and in front of the scenes. At the risk of slighting anyone " whether by mentioning them or by not mentioning them " standouts include the affable Stan Sierad, who will run the silent auction with sidekick Joan Guyer; Val Schneider, who will run the buffet; and of course Magic Lincoln-Mercury's Gregg Lawler, who will pinch-hit for Dan Hon as auctioneer.

The 1996 Wine Auction should not be missed, even if you're only in it to have a good time and to get some great wines at unbeatable prices. But do try to remember why you're there.

The Wine Auction is this Saturday, Sept. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Le Chene French Cuisine, 12625 W. Sierra Hwy., Saugus. For tickets or reservations call Jo Anne Darcy at 253-7230.

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Leon Worden is a Santa Clarita resident. His commentary appears on Wednesdays.

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