Season of Giving: Volunteering Rocks!

The holidays are here and as our thoughts turn to how our celebrations are going to look this year, they also turn to how we can support those in need and give back. Learn more about two of our favorite local nonprofits that are offering volunteer opportunities for the whole family and are looking for the community’s help this holiday season and all year round!

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Cantalini’s creates new outdoor seating area for guests

Playa del Rey’s Cantalini’s Salerno Beach recently increased their outdoor seating space, thanks to a new industrial-style patio created from a shipping container. The new area has allowed the restaurant to increase their table count from nine to 19, a huge help for the restaurant which, like many local eateries, has been hit hard by the pandemic.

For owner Lisa Schwab, the key word for 2020 has been adaptability, as restaurateurs have had to be creative and flexible to be able to navigate the ever-changing service rules and health protocols.

“The pandemic has been very challenging for everyone and has certainly been devastating to the entire small business community. We have worked really hard to ensure safety for our guests and staff members and are so grateful to our loyal customers for supporting us by ordering takeout and delivery,” said Schwab. “Our al fresco permit was a welcome addition and a much-needed increase in revenues. The program allowed us to serve guests on our surrounding sidewalks, but the space was very limited. Thanks to the efforts of Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office and Tim Conger from the Department of Transportation, we recently received approval to install a temporary patio by utilizing two on street parking spaces and are absolutely thrilled to be able to expand our service area.”

Cantalini’s, which is known for its welcoming atmosphere and mouth-watering Italian dishes, will be rolling out fall specials this month, including seasonal favorite pumpkin ravioli. Schwab is also excited to bring back Live Music Sundays, which recently started again.

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Business spotlight: Katie’s Kreations Events helps clients celebrate at home with balloons and decor

Everyone’s business could use a little help these days, so every month we’re featuring a different small business to help promote shopping locally and to support community members.

Here’s the scoop on Katie’s Kreations Events. Owned by Aisha Harris, the event company loves to make clients’ dreams come true when it comes to weddings and big life events. With COVID putting a pause on most in-person events, Harris has pivoted to bringing joy through porch decor and balloon creations that make the perfect backdrop for drive-by event celebrations.
This month, Harris has teamed up with a local photographer to provide a festive holiday set up for mini porch photo sessions in Westchester.

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Westchester Rotary starts Makeover Project to help Emerson Avenue Community Garden thrive

The Rotary Club of Westchester is known for its commitment to the community through their service projects and support of local nonprofits, but perhaps nothing exemplifies this commitment more than the group’s signature event, the bi-annual “extreme” Makeover Project. Over the years, the Rotary Club has remodeled four homes, the Westchester Senior Center, Safe Place for Youth and the Westchester Townhouse. Now, the Emerson Avenue Community Garden (EACG) is the lucky recipient of an extensive revamp courtesy of the 60-member strong club. With the help of Rotary volunteers and community partners, improvements to the approximately one-acre space will include improving accessibility by using decomposed granite instead of mulch for pathways. Other projects planned include improving the drainage and irrigation systems and some general beautification efforts to help create a more park-like atmosphere that the whole neighborhood can enjoy.

The Makeover Project’s manager, Warren Bobrow explains, “We want to bring attention to the garden and shine a good, bright light on it!”

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Community members are encouraged to light up Westchester/Playa for Holiday Home Decorating Contest to raise funds for mental health services

Are your holiday decorations usually the best on your block? Are you already planning on putting up a “Christmas Vacation” level display to wow your neighbors?

If you routinely go all out to decorate your home and yard for the most wonderful time of the year, you might want to consider participating in the first Holiday Lights Tour sponsored by the Westchester Mental Health Guild!

The Westchester Mental Guild is a local nonprofit that supports the Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) and is known for their fall Holiday Home Tour. The annual event, which would have celebrated its 38th anniversary this month, sees hundreds of community members visiting homes in Westchester and Playa del Rey decked out for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s no surprise that during a pandemic, however, the event had to be canceled, leaving volunteers like Guild President Linda Peterson and Fundraising Committee Chair Janie Guthrie pivoting to find a way to provide some much-needed holiday magic for the community.
“Given that we cannot do our usual Holiday Home Tour, and we want to do something fun for the community and at the same time support our great local businesses, a drive-by tour of decorated houses seemed like a good alternative,” said Peterson.

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Playa Vista’s Cafe Ruisseau creates a welcoming place for customers to enjoy great coffee

Everyone’s business could use a little help these days, so every month we’re featuring companies owned by local residents or located in Westchester/Playa to help promote shopping locally and to support community members.

Here’s the scoop on Playa Vista’s Cafe Ruisseau. Owned by Edward Ackah-Miezah, the family-friendly coffee shop specializes in signature drinks like the Honey Lavender Latte, Toasted Marshmallow Chai and London Fog, and offers an assortment of treats, including vegan and gluten-free options. Next time you’re in the mood for a latte, check out this cafe which puts a priority on building great relationships with their customers, while serving top-notch coffee and drinks.

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Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey and Silicon Beach Social work to make a difference in community

A sense of community and that feeling of belonging is something that everyone aspires to achieve in their lives. For 82 years, the women of Playa del Rey, Westchester and neighboring communities have succeeded in this goal through the Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey. The Woman’s Club is a place for fellowship, civic duty, philanthropy and fun, according to president Margarita Diosomito. They strive to enhance the lives of others through promoting volunteering, education and progressive ideas. They are part of the national organization, General Federation of Woman’s Clubs, founded in 1890, which is comprised of more than 3,000 philanthropic clubs globally.

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Community gets creative for reimagined Halloween Happenings this month

When L.A. County officials announced they were strongly advising against traditional trick-or-treating or even trunk-or-treating this year, many lamented that, like so many things in 2020, Halloween would be canceled. But leave it to quick thinking community members who immediately started brainstorming on how they could provide a safe and fun reimagined Halloween experience for local kids and the community.

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Will the Election Impact your Investments?

Join us for a live webinar this month!

As we approach Election Day, investors are understandably wondering– and maybe even anxious–about how the U.S. presidential election will affect the stock market. This year, COVID-19 and a fragile economy are additional concerns to the U.S. election cycle.

Regardless of who ends up winning in November, the election will likely play a factor in the markets. Here are a few things investors should consider:

Dealing with uncertainty: There are many important issues at stake, including trade, healthcare, tax policies, social justice and our relationship with China. While the economy is a significant influence to the elections, the COVID-19 pandemic has added even more uncertainty. How long the virus will persist and how significant the impact on economic growth will be remains unclear at the moment.

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