Westport Jazz Festival; Lions Bingo Night; Rotary Comedy and Magic Night

BY GEOFF MALEMAN

A new program was initiated this month in the Gateway to L.A. business district in Westchester to help hotels reduce waste, meet green certification standards, and provide assistance to an area homeless shelter.

The Gateway to L.A. business district contains more than 7,100 hotel rooms, with an average length of stay of approximately 1.2 nights. Every day, hotel guests depart having used only a small portion of the toiletries provided for their stay, according to the InnGage Hotel Amenity Donation Program. These bottles of shampoos and lotions often go to waste, while there are people in the community in need of these same items.

“Hotels in the LAX corridor have the ability to make a big contribution to help provide for the basic needs of those less fortunate,” said Julie Baylor, originator of the InnGage program.

Baylor, a hospitality consultant and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green associate, said she has provided assistance to hotels in the Gateway to L.A. business district to achieve Green Seal certification under the GS-33 Standard for Lodging Properties.

“Part of the Green Seal standard includes donating used amenities to charity, and in working with the hotels, I recognized a need for an organized donation system,” she said. “Because I have a connection to the hotels and also volunteer at the Union Rescue Mission through my church, I felt a calling to establish the system that brings them together.”

Los Angeles is considered the homeless capital of the United States, with 3 percent of the overall U.S. population, but 10 percent of the U.S. homeless population. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, up to 141,000 men, women, and children in L.A. experience homelessness over the course of a year and up to 73,000 people are experiencing homelessness each night in Los Angeles County.

“Hotels are in a unique position to provide assistance at no cost by simply collecting, packaging and donating partially used shampoo, conditioner, lotion and shower gel bottles,” Baylor said.

The program is available to hotels in the Gateway to L.A. business district at no cost. Participating hotels collect partially used amenities and separate them by type into boxes. The boxes are then picked up and delivered to the Union Rescue Mission.

Established in 1891, Union Rescue Mission is one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and the oldest in Los Angeles. In the last year, the Union Rescue Mission has provided 407,919 nights of lodging, well over 1,000 people per night on average, and officials say the new donation program is a welcomed addition.

“The hygiene products are much needed and will be a huge blessing to our guests,” said Mindy Vanderhoeven, Gifts-In-Kind Specialist at Union Rescue Mission.

WESTPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL

The first annual Westport Jazz Festival will be held on Saturday, March 5 in the Grand Ballroom of The Proud Bird Restaurant, 11022 Aviation Blvd., in Westchester. The doors will open at 3 p.m., and the Jazz Fest will continue into the evening.

VIP tickets are $75 each, Silver Circle tickets are $50 each, and general seating is $35 per ticket (a limited number of seats are available). All tickets include dinner provided by The Proud Bird Restaurant. Tables of 10 tickets (at VIP or Silver Circle) can also be purchased, and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Presented by the Westport Heights Elementary School Booster Club in collaboration with the Loyola Marymount University Family of Schools, the festival is being held to support the growing financial needs of Westport Heights Elementary School while promoting cultural awareness.

Artists such as Dwight Trible, Om’Mas Keith of Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Erik Rico, Henry Franklin, Preston Glass with Impromp2, and Donald Hayes are donating their talents for the Westport Jazz Festival. The masters of ceremonies are actors Nate Parker and Giovonnie Samuels. Organizers say that all proceeds will be used to help fund artistic, athletic and academic programs at the public elementary school.

The Booster Club is a nonprofit organization, and donations are a fully tax deductible (EIN#95-4333653). Tickets may be purchased online at: www.whesboosterclub.org/jazzfestival.

A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. For the extensive list of festival artists, www.facebook.com/westportjazzfest.

LIONS BINGO NIGHT

The Venice-Marina Lions Club will hold its Sixth Annual Bingo Night at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Westchester Elks Lodge, 8025 W. Manchester Ave., in Playa del Rey. The event, sponsored by L.A. Carpet Warehouse, Playa Vista, Graner Oil and Richard Stall, Jr., Esq., will feature 10 games of bingo, each with a $100 prize, a barbecue dinner of chicken and tri-tip, silent auction items and door prizes.

The beneficiaries of funds raised include the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Area Youth Programs: The Daps Program for boys and girls ages 9-13; and the Cadets Program made up of young people between the ages of 14 and 21.

Additionally, proceeds raised will be donated to the Lions Camp at Teresita Pines for Deaf Children, located in Wrightwood; Lions Eye Mobile Screening Unit; The Lions Canine Companion Program for the Sight Impaired; LAX USO; L.A. Mission; Special Olympics and other local charities.

Members of the club recently visited with Sid L. Scruggs, III, president of Lions International, at the Lions Camp at Teresita Pines for Deaf Children.

ROTARY COMEDY AND MAGIC NIGHT

The Rotary Club of Westchester will hold its annual fundraiser from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 at the Comedy and Magic Club, 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach. Proceeds from the fundraiser will support the club’s many philanthropic programs, including Teacher Mini Grants, its Home Makeover project, International Student Exchange programs, literacy programs and student scholarships.

Tickets are $75 per person and include cocktails, appetizers, dinner and the Comedy and Magic Show. For more information, please email Heather Martillo at HMartillo@renovagroup.com, or call (310) 622-4821.

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