On Sunday, December 10th, the Santa Monica Service Club Alliance will host their 2nd Annual Santa Monica Community Boutique; An Alternative Gift Fair. This is a free community event and will be held at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club at 1210 4th Street in Santa Monica from 11:00 am to 3:00pm.
The event will include over 25 local nonprofits, live music by the Samohi quintet, hot apple cider and mimosas. The City of Santa Monica’s Buy Local; Give Local program is promoting this event as a way for community members to support their local nonprofits. In addition to purchasing gifts from local businesses this holiday season, the community is asked to consider also making donations to local nonprofits as gifts as well.
This boutique invites members of the public to “shop” for the holidays, by making donations in honor of friends and family, to any of the 25+ participating nonprofits. Each nonprofit has a staffed table with information about their organization. As attendees learn about the nonprofits, they use the “shopping list” provided to designate the donations they wish to make. After making their selections, attendees then proceed to the “check-out.”
Each nonprofit then receives a check and an accounting of all their designated donations. The event has gift cards and even a calligrapher on site to fill them out. Last year was the first time any local organization has attempted anything like this here in Santa Monica.
Upon paying just once at check-out for all the donations she wanted to make, musician and animal advocate Arielle Verinis said, “Now that I know what this is, I am going to tell everyone about it next year!” Getting the message out has been a challenge, admitted organizers, “we’re still looking for an elevator speech,” says Jessica Handy, past president of the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica. She says of one of the unanticipated benefits of the Community Boutique, “last year we heard from so many of the nonprofits that they really
enjoyed getting to know the other nonprofits in the room; they were all so inspired by each other.”
And the nonprofits participating this year are certainly not short on the ability to inspire. Take Cause for Celebration for example. They throw birthday parties for foster children and kids living in shelters. Angel Flight’s volunteer pilots and drivers shuttle people in need to medical care. A Purposeful Rescue gives older shelter dogs a chance at a forever home. Meals on Wheels delivers over 80,000 healthy meals a year to homebound residents. Foundation for Woman Warriors is a support organization for female veterans. Beautify Earth sponsors murals throughout town. Heal the Bay helps keep our beaches safe, healthy and clean. And KCRW keeps the Santa Monica NPR listening audience informed and entertained. And there are many more nonprofits serving children, adults, those with special needs, animals and the environment.