Every day but Sunday, people line up in front of the Malibu Community Labor Exchange hoping to find a day’s work. Those job seekers, who have grown in number since the pandemic began, were stunned on March 30 when Dick Van Dyke, the beloved entertainer, rode up and began handing out bills through his car window. “He feels a huge amount of empathy for the families that have been affected by COVID, especially those who’ve been laid off and are trying hard to find a job to put food on the table,” explains a friend of the star’s exclusively to Closer in the latest issue, on newsstands now.

Kindness comes naturally to the performer. In fact, growing up in Missouri, Dick briefly thought about becoming a minister. “I have still endeavored to touch people’s souls, to raise their spirits and put smiles on their faces,” the star of TV’s The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder, as well as cherished film classics like Mary Poppins, wrote in his 2011 memoir.

Dick Van Dyke and Wife
Matt Baron/Shutterstock

And Dick’s caring has often gone beyond simply making people forget their troubles through laughter. “This isn’t the first time Dick has handed out cash to people in need. He’s a generous man who feels fortunate to be in the position he’s in today,” explains the friend. “It’s not about publicity or making himself feel good. He genuinely wants to help.”

The star, who turned 95 in December, has been careful about protecting his health during the pandemic. “He’s in good health and doing well. And it’s been easier for him to get out now that he’s been vaccinated,” confides the friend, who adds, “It’s no surprise he has a reputation as being one of the most down-to-earth, kindest and most well-liked men in the community.”

For this story and more, pick up the latest issue of Closer magazine, on newsstands now!