“‘Lala’. She was the heart and soul of the family,” explains Kate Healy about her grandmother, Nancy Nash Beckham who lived in Pasadena and was a familiar fixture at All Saints Church and other volunteer organizations in Pasadena that helped the homeless and hungry. At the church, she was known as “The Cookie Lady,” since she spent Sunday after services selling baked good items to support the church’s outreach.
“She modeled the importance of volunteering and being generous and charitable,” remembers Kate about Nancy who passed away 13 years ago. “She embodied that for all of us grandchildren.”
Now, Kate is continuing in that tradition by donating an item that symbolizes a personal connection for her with Lala: a white Toyota 4Runner. “It was my grandmother who named my car, Blanco. This was my main mode of transportation in college at USC,” explains Kate. “I often visited Lala for dinner after my classes ended and would pick her up in Blanco.”
When Kate graduated and left for New York City, her mom, Patti, became Blanco’s caretaker. But like many older cars, there comes a time when fixing it up isn’t worth the cost. When her Mom called her and said it was time to get rid of Blanco, Kate had a lightbulb moment. Why not see if the car could be donated and if the proceeds could go to the PCF fund named after her grandmother?
When she passed in 2007, Nancy’s two daughters, Patti Healy and Barbara Beckham worked with PCF to establish the Nancy Nash Beckham Endowment for Hunger to honor their mother’s memory and her commitment to the community. With additional gifts and investment growth the fund balance grew from $10,000 to $75,000. Each year since it was established the fund has made a distribution to support local nonprofits working with those experiencing homelessness or food insecurity.
When told Blanco added more than $1,400 to the fund, Kate was delighted, “It warms my heart that Blanco will, in ways, continue to support a cause that Lala was so passionate about.”
To Kate her mom, Patti, and aunt, Barbara, it was a fitting way to again honor Lala. As they and future generations continue to grow the fund, who knows what will spark the next creative way to do so.