Column: Vista philanthropist turns $3,000 into $19,000 in gifts


Jeffrey Olsen doesn’t have a automobile. He doesn’t personal a wise cellphone, and he attire merely. The 57-year-old Vista resident lives in his mother and father’ dwelling the place he serves as his mom’s caregiver.

But yearly he provides away 1000’s and 1000’s of {dollars} value of meals, toys, clothes and items to county residents who’re much less lucky.

On Thursday, 200 energetic obligation navy or their spouses will go to the Armed Companies YMCA tables on the Naval Base San Diego housing rec heart to select up a brand new coat, parka or sweater wrapped in clear plastic with a dimension marked on the surface. About 100 homeless veterans in downtown San Diego likewise will probably be provided new jackets. All courtesy of Jeffrey Olsen.

On the Ladies’s Useful resource Middle in Oceanside, dozens of youngsters will obtain remote-controlled vans, strolling dolls and new jackets. Due to Jeffrey Olsen.

The Salvation Military is being given 296 kilos of meals, sufficient to serve meals to greater than 500 individuals. Additionally gifted by Jeffrey Olsen.

The congenial do-gooder, who speaks slowly as a result of a misdiagnosed situation at delivery, is a well-recognized determine to native charities. He has been hooked on giving to others for 32 years.

He isn’t a wealthy man, though he’s good with numbers and has made some profitable investments within the inventory market.

When the inventory market tanked greater than 20 years in the past, Olsen determined to surrender his gift-giving pastime.

That didn’t final lengthy, nevertheless, as a result of he quickly witnessed individuals in want and couldn’t resist serving to them, first kids and later increasing to navy and veterans. His father, Robert Olsen, who handed away at age 88 on Feb. 26, was a Marine within the Korean Struggle and sometimes helped his son hand out gadgets. This yr Olsen is giving in his dad’s honor.

“The primary yr he supported us was 2018, however he’s been doing this for years for various organizations,” says Anna Breese, of the native Armed Companies YMCA. “He’s very variety and really beneficiant, and we’re very grateful.”

The previous J.C. Penney division retailer salesman is aware of how to buy bargains, particularly seasonal clothes gross sales. He scouts close-out presents, particular offers and redeems coupons.

Final March, as an illustration, Olsen bought 80 jackets that retailed for $120 every at a particular sale value of $6.88 every. He purchased a $295 sportscoat at Macy’s, utilizing a coupon, for $4.98. He additionally snapped up dozens of youngsters’ jackets at Macy’s for $15.99 every.

This yr he says he spent about $3,000 out of pocket however was in a position to buy gadgets with an estimated retail worth of $19,000. “That’s the one manner I can afford to assist lots of people,” he explains.

Olsen, in actual fact, first began accumulating toys to divulge to children when he was in his mid-20s and was adept at utilizing a mechanical claw sport machine to select up stuffed animals.

So prodigious is his reward giving that Olsen needed to discover further space for storing, so he purchased a 12-foot-by-16-foot shed to deal with his giveaways to await the vacations. He retains the numbers in his head. This yr’s gadgets — clothes, meals and toys — ought to attain 888 individuals, and over the previous 32 years he estimates the entire variety of recipients at 53,184.

These days he buys primarily through pc. “Purchasing is lots simpler than it was earlier than, after I had to enter the shops,” Olsen says. The pandemic retains him from becoming a member of this yr’s festivities, but it surely hasn’t dampened his giving spirit. “I’m in all probability going to proceed,” he says of future years.

A photo of Addison Levy's idea of a comedy club gathering of toy horses which won a Schleich USA contest.

A photograph of Addison Levy’s thought of a comedy membership gathering of Schleich toy horses. The Ramona woman’s video gained a Schleich USA contest centered on the ability of creativeness.

(Picture by Mitchel Wu for Schleich USA)

Occasions Sq. fame: A “Who’s Who” collage of film stars, fashions and musicians lengthy have been illuminated in Occasions Sq. with sufficient lights to energy all of Las Vegas’ casinos twice over.

And now comes 13-year-old Addison Levy of Ramona.

She had her Dec. 5 debut on a video billboard within the well-known Huge Apple vacationer magnet that attracted a median of 136,000 individuals a day in pre-COVID instances.

Not unhealthy for a gal who attends a neighborhood constitution faculty, rides horses and creates fantasy situations together with her miniature barns and plastic toy horses.

Addison Levy, 13, plays with her Schleich toy horses at her home in Ramona.

Addison Levy, 13, performs together with her Schleich toy horses at her dwelling in Ramona. Ribbons she gained for using an actual horse in equitation exhibits line the wall.

(Courtesy photograph)

In actual fact, it’s these horses that obtained her face up in Occasions Sq.. Addison created an imaginary scenario utilizing her Schleich mini-animal assortment — an equine comedy membership gathering — which she videotaped, full with horse jokes. Her video was chosen from greater than 5,000 submissions, first within the prime 10, after which as certainly one of three winners within the Schleich USA contest.

In pre-COVID instances, Addison and her co-winners, a 7-year-old boy from Missouri and a 7-year-old woman from Maryland, would have visited New York Metropolis for the ceremony.

As an alternative Schleich hosted a digital viewing get together emceed by Patti Murin, who originated the position of Anna in Disney’s “Frozen” on Broadway. It additionally employed skilled L.A. cameraman Mitchel Wu to {photograph} the situations.

Addison says she was shocked to have been chosen and delighted when Schleich despatched her a bunch of horses and animals so as to add to her assortment, which already numbered about 70. In spite of everything, a younger equestrian can by no means have too many horses.


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