STAFF OF LIFE : PAIR DISTRIBUTE BAKED GOODS TO POOR, HOMELESS.
Byline: Dennis McCarthy Dennis McCarthy may refer to:
Norm and Joyce have been a team for 15 years now, a couple of winners casting their day-old breads and pastries out across the Valley floor for the asking Adv. 1. for the asking - on the occasion of a request; "advice was free for the asking"
on request .
Meet Norm Neiman, owner of Weby's Bakery in Studio City, and his unpaid delivery woman, Joyce Lest, affectionately af·fec·tion·ate
1. Having or showing fond feelings or affection; loving and tender.
2. Obsolete Inclined or disposed.
af·fec known as the Pastry pastry, general name for baked articles of food made of paste or having paste as a necessary ingredient. The name is also used for the paste itself. The essential elements of paste are flour, liquid (usually milk or water, sometimes beaten egg), and shortening. Lady to many of the Valley's homeless, needy need·y
adj. need·i·er, need·i·est
1. Being in need; impoverished. See Synonyms at poor.
2. Wanting or needing affection, attention, or reassurance, especially to an excessive degree. and shut-in residents.
They're a couple of hard-working, good-hearted people who saw neediness on the streets of the Valley back in 1981 and couldn't find it inside themselves to look the other way.
``I'd look out the front window of my bakery every day, and see more and more people who were hurting - older people, women with small children,'' said Norm, who owned Plaza Bakery in North Hollywood at the time.
``There was no way I could turn around and not see it. I knew then I'd have to do something to help - that I couldn't just walk away. That's not something I could do in my heart.''
Joyce Lest was looking out another window, but seeing the same scene from her housing complex nearby on Lankershim Boulevard.
A 29-year-old mother, with a 1-year-old child, she wasn't in much better financial shape in 1981 than many of the people Norm was seeing outside his bakery.
One day, Joyce walked into Norm's shop for a doughnut, and they began to talk about what they were both seeing from their front windows.
``I've got all these day-old breads and pastries that are going to waste, but I don't have the time, working 12-, 14-hour days, to get them to people,'' Norm said.
``I've got the time, and a car,'' Joyce said.
It was the beginning of a long, fruitful fruit·ful
a. Producing fruit.
b. Conducive to productivity; causing to bear in abundance: fruitful soil.
2. friendship for them, and for a lot of people in the Valley.
The week begins at 6 a.m. Monday, with Joyce and Norm loading boxes of day-old breads and pastries into her 1986 Chevy Sprint.
``Fifteen years ago I had a 1968 Ford Galaxy
The Ford Galaxy is a large MPV first introduced in 1995. First generation Galaxy (1995−2000) but I put over 100,000 miles on it driving all over the Valley delivering these pastries, and it's in the graveyard now,'' Joyce says. ``This one's just about ready to join it.''
She smiles when she says the words, but there's a look of worry in her eyes.
At 44, she's not much better off financially than she was 15 years ago, and if she doesn't come up with a used van or car to replace the Sprint soon, these early morning bread and pastry deliveries may have to be put on hold for a while.
But that's tomorrow's worry. Today she has to make the rounds. People are waiting.
The first stop is Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar, where she delivers four boxes of breads and pastries to the volunteer office.
``We cut the pastries up and take them up to ER, the AIDS clinic, or send them home with the breads for the needy families of young kids in our clinics,'' said Sandra Urquidez, who works in the hospital's volunteer office.
``Around here, the Pastry Lady has been a godsend god·send
Something wanted or needed that comes or happens unexpectedly.
[Alteration of Middle English goddes sand, God's message : goddes, genitive of God, God for a lot of people for a long time,'' she said.
Joyce laughs. The Pastry Lady. She likes the title because in many ways it masks the real story going on here - the story she worries that so many people are tired of living and reading about.
If anything, the scene she and Norm see from their windows in 1996 has only gotten worse in the Valley.
``I see people hurting each other more, not helping each other,'' she says, walking back to her car for the next delivery.
``People are tired, tired of the way the world is going - tired of trying to do something about it and getting nowhere. A lot of them are giving up. That's why this is so important.
``On the face of it, it's just free pastries I'm delivering,'' Joyce says. ``But deep down, it's so much more.''
In the next few hours, she will deliver Norm Neiman's day-old baked goods to the Activities for Retarded re·tard·ed
1. Often Offensive Affected with mental retardation.
2. Occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed. Children center in North Hollywood, to the Menorah menorah
Multibranched candelabra used by Jews during the festival of Hanukkah. It holds nine candles (or has nine receptacles for oil). Eight of the candles stand for the eight days of Hanukkah—one is lit the first day, two the second, and so on. House seniors building in Sherman Oaks, to the Fickett Towers seniors building in Van Nuys, and to half a dozen shut-ins and homeless shelters Homeless shelters are temporary residences for homeless people. Usually located in urban neighborhoods, they are similar to emergency shelters. The primary difference is that homeless shelters are usually open to anyone, without regard to the reason for need. in the Valley.
By the end of the week, the Pastry Lady will travel back and forth five times from Norm's Ventura Boulevard Ventura Boulevard is one of the primary east-west thouroughfares in the San Fernando Valley; as it was originally a part of the El Camino Real (the trail between Spanish missions), Ventura Boulevard is the oldest route in the San Fernando Valley. It was also U.S. bakery to Sylmar, Sunland, Reseda and Van Nuys - putting hundreds of more miles on her old Sprint.
On the face of it, delivering free, day-old pastries to the needy.
But deep down, so much more.
MEMO: Dennis McCarthy's column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Photo: Weby's Bakery owner Norm Neiman fills Joyce Lest's s hopping cart with day-old bread for the needy.
Hans Gutknecht/Daily News