By Daniella Segura,
Everyone knows that children must be asleep before Santa Claus comes down to the fireplace with a sack full of presents on Christmas Eve.
But, according to the merry old elf himself, there is a bit more.
“It’s not just that you have to sleep,” Santa told the children who were watching a Facebook Live session in Redondo Beach this week. “You must be dreaming, like in the story” It was the night before Christmas. “”
And it’s only when those sugar plums start to dance that Santa Claus can give a present.
“You have to dream deeply, deeply,” said Santa Claus.
Santa Claus, whose secret identity will not be revealed here, hosted the Facebook Live session from his workshop, which was adorned with a spinning Christmas tree and blocks on his shelf with the spelling “BE KIND” .
The virtual meet was hosted by for-profit media company Local Anchor as a fundraiser for the non-profit Speak Your Truth Today, which amplifies the voices of victims of domestic violence. The event raised $ 2,439, money that will be used to purchase Christmas presents and dinner for more than 40 families, said Hannah Hollander, executive director of Speak Your Truth Today.
“It’s really amazing that Local Anchor has chosen us as a partner,” Hollander said of the recently launched company, “and recognizes how difficult this time of year can be for some of the most vulnerable people in the world. our communities. “
But the star of the conversation was, of course, Santa Claus himself.
He answered everything and everything the kids typed in the Facebook Live chat.
His favorite dish? Cookies, of course.
Does Mrs. Claus cook them? No. She is an accomplished woman with several doctorates, he said.
But the most important thing, Santa Claus told the children, was to help people. And, he said, there are organizations that do just that.
“They spread the spirit of generosity throughout the year,” said Santa Claus.
The online Q&A fundraiser was just one example of the acts of kindness that Local Anchor tries to bring to the community, said company founder Laura Stotland, a resident of Redondo Beach.
Local Anchor actually started out as a parenting group on Facebook, known as South Bay Mommies and Daddies.
“Charity has always been a part of my heart,” said Stotland. “It’s funny because people say we’re not your typical group of moms. We are a community group that just happens to be parents.
Stotland, a mother of two, started the Facebook group in 2014 to ask others “mom questions.” From there, she started listing community events and sharing resources.
Eventually, Stotland launched a website.
South Bay Mommies and Daddies has quickly grown into one of the area’s largest parenting groups on Facebook.
The group, now with a new nickname, South Bay Parents – A Local Anchor Community, has approximately 8,200 members.
Kerry Catapano, a mother of two who moved to Redondo Beach last year, said another mother told her parenting group was the only resource she would need.
“She wasn’t kidding,” Catapano said.
“I can get referrals, recommendations, advice, event information and more,” she added, “all without drama – what anyone on social media can tell you is rare.”
Stotland attributes the group’s success to its welcoming character. While opinions are welcome, Stotland said, as soon as a commentator is mean, they are not invited.
And that’s because parenting is hard enough, Stotland said.
“We are faced with so many things,” she said. “We have to find common ground. We don’t always have to agree, but we don’t have to be mean.
Stotland had its “aha” moment in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana.
The marketing manager and event planner said she saw members asking what they could do to help. They just didn’t know how, she said.
So, said Stotland, she began to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
To help the victims of the hurricane that year, Stotland coordinated a donation campaign at The Point in El Segundo. South Bay moms and dads packed a truckload of essentials and drove it to Operation Gratitude in Chatsworth, where the items were sorted and taken to a military base in Texas.
And there were other fundraisers as well.
In December 2020, the group raised $ 15,000 through a crowdfunding program to purchase more than 1,000 meals for healthcare workers at local restaurants.
The group also launched a pencil drive initiative in 2017 for schools in need and produced guides to help students transition from online school to in-person school in September.
In early 2020, as the pandemic unfolded, Stotland was encouraged to apply for Facebook’s community accelerator program. Two months ago, in October, Local Anchor was selected from over 13,000 applicants.
In addition to the training, Local Anchor received a grant of $ 50,000, which Stotland used to redesign the website, as well as to hire help.
And now, Stotland said, she wants to expand her business into the wider Los Angeles area.
Stotland said she plans her new business to support nonprofits and connect them with volunteers.
“We want to be more of the boots on the pitch,” she said, “the person holding the megaphone that says, ‘Come on! Let’s go help with that! ‘”
The following ? Local Anchor is taking on another holiday with its annual Valentine’s Day Kindness Project.