“The safety net for the western end of the Coachella Valley” -Roy Wilson – Beloved Past President

By Lisa Morgan

The presence of Well in the Desert in Palm Springs over the last 16 years, has been vital to both those in need and the community at large. A hugely positive force, they continue to provide much needed services to all within their reach. Winner of the humanitarian award for Community Service from the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission, they continue to work hard to ease the increasing burden on our valley’s less fortunate. The nonprofit organization was founded by Dr. Wayne R. McKinney, known for operation “baby lift” in Vietnam. He was a true American Hero who through his efforts, saved hundreds of orphan children and fed countless hungry people.

Arlene Rosenthal, the current president of this great organization explains, “We don’t have a paid executive director or a huge payroll. We have four different houses that are low income where people learn to live communally. The staff there is paid with a small stipend and room and board. Our top paid administrator only receives $1500 a month. We are mostly a volunteer organization so 90% of every dollar goes to client services due to the extremely low ratio of administrative costs.” Arlene, herself, is the unpaid executive director who believes, like the programs founder, that “when you give, you don’t ask for anything back.” Arlene and her Board of Directors work long hours, tireless in their efforts to keep The Coachella Valley’s people in need cared for. Their mission is to fuel programs for poverty prevention, direct services for poverty intervention, and organized efforts to advocate for the poor.

I’ve had the great pleasure of participating and attending an event produced by Well of the Desert. I have to say, the event itself was worth my time and monetary investment as these functions are exceptionally fun and well organized, not to mention, incredibly inspiring. Knowing that I am contributing to such a great cause is simply icing on the cake. Here are some upcoming events wherein proceeds raised for Well in the Desert will go directly to their client services.


Thursday, August 29th, 6- 8pm: Fun on a Hot Summer Night, Music and dancing to the music of CV Weekly’s own Lola Rossi, Denise Motto and friends will be hosted with delicious buffet and no host bar. Admission is $30 per person and will be held at the Purple Room at Club Trinidad, 1900 E. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs.


Sunday, October 13th, 3:30 – 5:30 pm: An Afternoon Soiree of Cabaret, with famed duo Alan Chapman (of KUSC) and Karen Benjamin. This delicious afternoon with be held at a private home on E. Bogert Trail in Palm Springs. Only 75 reservations can be taken. Wine and cheese, incredible desserts, and a fun afternoon are guaranteed. This show will wow all in attendance for a minimum donation of $50. This contribution will support the Festival of Opera and Art as well as the busing of students in low-income schools. Your $50 also includes a photo with Karen and Alan. Call (760) 323-8353 for advanced reservations or visit www.operaartspalmsprings.org. The address will be given with reservation.

Friday, November 1st, “Master Class”, Terrence McNally’s Broadway hit about Maria Callas who taught master classes at Lincoln Center toward the end of her career. The audience gets to witness her up close and personal, interacting with her students. She reflects back on the history of her life and her rise to the top of her profession. The New York Times reviewed the play during its Broadway run, reminding readers “that the same ego magnetism required to make a star can also create a tyrant.”

This event includes a three course seated dinner catered by Lulu/Acqua Pazza with various wines, served in the theater lobby of Coachella Valley Repertory Theater, followed by the play. The cost is $92.00 for dinner and show. Make reservations quick as OperaArts has only 28 tickets to sell to our supporters. Call (760) 323-8353 for reservations.

Sunday, December 8th, 6:00 -8:30 p.m. “For the Children”, is a collaborative fundraiser for OperaArts and the Steinway Society of Riverside County. At the Classic Club, 75-200 Classic Club Dr., Palm Desert. There will be a wine and cheese reception with a glorious silent auction. Special awards for their contributions to music in the valley will go to Tim Bruneau, California Desert Chorale, Joe Giarrusso, Coachella Valley Repertory Theater, & Lilli Joseph, Opera Showcase. Classical presentation by a young Steinway Artist, followed with a delicious sit-down dinner, and a beautiful musical OperaArts program of love songs, operetta and opera. World-renown Mezzo-Soprano Suzanna Guzman will present the special award to Lilli Joseph. Gregorio Gonzalez, Baritone, and Robin Farnsley, Soprano will present the musical finale of the evening. Reservations are limited so reserve early. $125.00 per person or $1,000 for a table of 8. (760) 323-8353, or online: http://www.operaartspalmsprings.org

For details and a complete list of upcoming events benefiting Well in the Desert, information regarding opportunities to volunteer, or how to donate food, clothes or make a financial contribution, go to their website, wellinthedesert.org. Volunteers are always needed as are donations of food and clothing. The Well is located at 555 Commercial Road, Unit 10 in Palm Springs or call (760) 327-8577 for the schedule of their daily hot food program.