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Posted on: January 5, 2021

Mayor's Message - August 2022

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Dear Residents,

In December 2020, I saw a sight that not only caught my attention, but startled me beyond words. A young man was standing in the rain, with only an Aliso Niguel High School t-shirt to protect him from the elements. The evening had dropped below 45 degrees, and the wet weather only compounded the impact of the unusually cold temperature. I stopped to offer some help and noticed the boy’s mother, with their possessions in an overflowing shopping cart, eating food from what looked like a discarded to-go container. Neither would accept the extra umbrella I had in my car, or the jacket I kept in my trunk, and fled when I tried to offer other assistance.  

Tragically, it is often difficult to find a sustainable solution with an immediate impact to help those who are in need. That night, I rushed home and placed several calls, leaving voicemail messages for the County of Orange and several other local agencies and charities. Surprisingly, many returned my call that night, even after 10 p.m. By the next day, several organizations offered assistance for the situation in Aliso Viejo that had become so apparent to me from the sight of that young man and his mother. Prominent in my mind is the role that our school district, Capistrano Unified School District, began to play to meet the needs of the youth in our community. Their fully-funded lunch program made meals available to families with children under the age of 18, whether they attended school in the district or not. And with a new distribution site right here in Aliso Viejo, the needs of many families seemed within reach. But this is only a small part of the picture, and with rising prices impacting the cost of gas, personal goods and groceries, food insecurity is a rapidly growing concern for many families throughout the region and across our state.  

The City of Aliso Viejo has established important partnerships with organizations like South County Outreach and Family Assistance Ministries to try and broaden the impact we have on this tragic situation. The Aliso Viejo Community Association, the Aliso Viejo Chamber of Commerce, and many of our local churches are increasingly including canned food drives at local events to increase donations to food pantries in our area. And most recently, produce from Aliso Viejo Ranch is now donated to these charitable organizations; a benefit that has evolved as the Ranch site matures and grows beyond the original vision of a place for recreation, education, and historical preservation. Aliso Viejo Ranch is far from a vanity project, and has established itself as an important part of our city’s efforts to work towards ending food insecurity and has become an example that other cities can follow to lend support in this effort. 

With Aliso Viejo Ranch up and running, and our focus directed towards the needs of our community, we recognize the important role our partners play in addressing food insecurity. The City of Aliso Viejo is grateful for the efforts of the residents, businesses, and these fine organizations, who are all working together for our greater good. It is my pleasure to recognize our Trusted Partners each month, and this month in particular, it is important for all of us to acknowledge our good fortune and seek new ways to assist those who are not so fortunate. Please continue to Trust in Aliso Viejo as we put our trust in so many important organizations. 

Trust in Aliso Viejo. 

Mayor Ross Chun

Any views or opinions expressed in this message belong solely to the Mayor.

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