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Photo gallery: St. Germaine Children’s Charity awards $142,250 in grants to 11 nonprofits

Amid a sea-themed luncheon, La Jolla-based St. Germaine Children’s Charity awarded a total of $142,250 in grants to 11 local nonprofits.

The annual luncheon, held June 7 at The Lot La Jolla, saw more than 100 members, donors and beneficiaries of St. Germaine come together in support of the group’s mission to aid child abuse prevention in San Diego by supporting agencies that care for, shelter and treat victims of abuse up to age 25.

The late Barbara Christensen founded St. Germaine in 1984 with nine other women. The group currently has more than 250 members.

Addressing the lunch guests, Christensen’s granddaughter and current St. Germaine President Katie Christensen said St. Germaine continues to realize her grandmother’s vision to end child abuse locally.

“We continue to protect all children through the crucial funds we raise and provide throughout the year,” she said.

The group’s fundraising has become more complicated and crucial due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christensen said, as studies have indicated a sharp increase in child abuse cases. There have been a “decrease in parents who have been seeking routine pediatric medical care, an increase in hospital treatment of abused children and an unfortunate decrease in reporting of child abuse cases,” she said.

“These intolerable facts further fueled our passion at St. Germaine, as we saw an increased need for funding throughout the community,” Christensen said.

St. Germaine has raised funds for its grants in the past year through continued promotion and sales of its cookbook, “Dining In: Recipes from La Jolla’s Finest Restaurants,” holding small fundraisers and backyard patio events, its traditional Silver Tea fundraiser in December, and a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day card fundraiser this year, she said.

The 11 nonprofits receiving grant money this year (the amount each agency receives is confidential) are Assistance League of Greater San Diego, which runs multiple philanthropic programs; Casa Cornelia Law Center, which provides pro-bono legal services to undocumented minors; Chadwick Center, an accredited children’s advocacy center; The Children’s Initiative, which serves low-income and other underserved children; Crisis House, which helps families experiencing domestic violence and homelessness; Friends of Vista Hill, which supports families dealing with mental health crises and substance abuse; Kids’ Turn San Diego, which helps children express themselves during family conflicts; Restoration 225, which partners with Christian organizations to aid foster children; San Diego Police Foundation, which raises funds for the Police Department; Youth Assistance Coalition, which seeks to improve the lives of homeless youths in San Diego County; and Walden Family Services, which helps foster children and families.

Guest speaker Melody Vazquez, director of programs for the Youth Assistance Coalition, said the St. Germaine grant money is an honor that will help her group continue to offer homeless youths “hope and security” through services such as hygiene products, a hot meal, education and mentorship.

“They deserve to have those opportunities, so we want to be there for them,” Vazquez said.

St. Germaine then installed its new board of directors, which includes Christensen continuing as president.

For more information, visit stgermainechildrenscharity.org.