Assistance League

Margaret McMillan, 93, was honored along with about 30 other volunteers, at the annual Christmas luncheon for retired service volunteers who help at the Assistance League of La Canada Flintridge, at the La Canada Flintridge Country Club. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / December 7, 2012)

Alma Barba has been in La Cañada Flintridge for more than 50 of her 95 years. She’s seen the arrival of the freeway and of cityhood, and continues to keep her hand in community affairs as a volunteer for the Assistance League of Flintridge.

”There’s always activity if a person wants to do it, and it is a close community,” Barba said.

Barba was one of roughly three dozen Assistance League aides feted Friday at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club for their role as retired service volunteers.

The so-called RSVs meet on Friday mornings to provide free labeling, folding and envelope-stuffing services for nonprofits including the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., the Door of Hope homeless shelter in Pasadena, the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation and the La Cañada Thursday Club. They have been doing so since 1976.

Sheri Morton, who co-chairs the RSV program on behalf of the Cañada Auxiliary of Professionals, said that without the 37 retirees who come each week, the Assistance League wouldn’t be able to support those charities in the same way.

“It wouldn’t get done without them,” she said. “It’s a fine-tuned machine, and they all have a job to do.”

Volunteers say they get plenty out of the program, from companionship to lunch on Fridays, the annual holiday luncheon and a trip to the Claremont Dinner Theater each spring.

“Normally when you volunteer you don’t expect to be rewarded for it,” said volunteer Helen Frawley, 84. “They’re so good to us. Besides, it’s really one of the highlights of my week.”

“I have met some lovely ladies, and I’ve been friends with them ever since,” Barba said. “I’m so darn old a lot of my friends have passed away. It’s so nice to meet new people.”

Morton said the camaraderie of the program extends to those coordinating it.

“A lot of the people in this group are mothers of kids I went to school with, so it’s great to reconnect,” she said.

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