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Angels celebrate banner year of philanthropy


Last updated 6/9/2017 at Noon

Luncheon attendees include, from left, Maura Button, Fran White, Jeanette Short, and Mary Merchat.

FALLBROOK – More than 170 members of the Angel Society of Fallbrook gathered on May 25 at Pala Mesa Resort for the group’s annual meeting and luncheon to honor its volunteers and to celebrate 39 years of philanthropic giving to the greater Fallbrook community.

“Wild About Angels” was the theme of the event, which drew new and longtime members alike, many of them dressed in animal prints and other “wild” attire. In addition to a luncheon and special sales of donated jewelry, linens and other “treasures,” guests also enjoyed a silent auction and raffle.

The highlight of the afternoon was an “Angels Gone Wild” fashion show emceed by board member Judy Igoe. She was joined by fellow board members Eve Desborough, Linda Flynn, Christine Hawranik, Bette Krepelin and Joan McDowell, who modeled outfits donated to the Angel Shop, a thrift store in Fallbrook that is staffed and managed entirely by volunteers.

Since its inception in 1978, the Angel Society has raised a total of $3,656,369 in funds for community nonprofits and other worthy causes through the operation of the shop.

Billie Foli, president of the Angels’ board of directors, thanked members for their dedication and support in helping the group achieve a new record in philanthropic giving. During its fiscal year from May 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017, the organization donated a total of $178,150, an increase of nearly $23,000 over the previous year.

The funds were dispersed to more than 60 organizations and worthy causes, and included 27 scholarships totaling $24,000 for graduating seniors as well as for students currently enrolled in college.

The group also donated a total of $103,471 in non-monetary donations of recycled goods to other nonprofits including the Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary, Women’s Resource Center, Interfaith Community Services, Boy and Girls Club of North County, Rally for Children, the United States Marine Corps, and several schools and churches.

“The past year has been wild and wonderful,” Foli told the group, commending the board of directors for overseeing a recent renovation of the downstairs area of the Angel Shop, which was damaged by a plumbing leak.

“You, the members who support this organization, have changed the lives of many people you will never know. Together we are making a difference,” added Foli, who recognized longtime members in attendance including Betsy Bucher, a charter member; Kathryn Kopitzke, Marnie Mifflin and Lila Sandschulte, past presidents; and Janice Bricker and Carole Savoca, two volunteers who have worked in the Angel Shop since 1978.

She also recognized several “sustaining” board members, as well as introduced six new members who joined the board in May. They are Linda Carter, Mona Castro, Lou Cobb, Mary Merchat, Beverly Olson and Marie Sundsboe. The new 32-member board of directors will be installed this month.

Sharon Daniels, left, visits with Angel Society president Billie Foli at the group's “Wild About Angels” luncheon, May 25.

During her report to attendees, Fran White recalled her first luncheon meeting 11 years ago, after she first joined the board as treasurer. “The shop was averaging sales of $700 a day, and it was rare for us to have a $1000 day,” she said. “Eleven years later, I’m treasurer again and Angels, you’ve come a long way, baby. Now, if we don’t make $1,000 a day, we’re sad.”

White also noted that the Angels purchased their shop building in 2007, at a cost of $1.2 million. Today, the organization owes a balance on the property of $403,302.

The Angel Shop is located at 1002 S. Main Ave. Donations are welcome during regular business hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information about the Angel Society of Fallbrook, visit


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