Toluca Lake Holiday Open House
On December 1, the Village filled with seasonal cheer as businesses, community groups, and hundreds of residents and neighbors gathered for the annual Holiday Open House hosted by the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce. The event included live music, merchant giveaways, food and drink galore (including 1,200 free hot dogs provided by Pink’s), an opportunity to have photos taken with Santa Claus, and a tree-lighting ceremony emceed by Honorary Mayor Fritz Coleman. “This is truly one of the most wonderful celebrations in SoCal to kick off the holiday season,” Coleman declared.
Holiday Charity Boutique
On December 7, hundreds of residents and friends shopped for gifts while contributing to a worthy cause at a holiday boutique in Colleen and John Shanks’ Toluca Lake home. More than a dozen vendors — including local businesses Rose & Sage and Truly Toffee — sold clothing, jewelry, décor items and more, with 20% of all proceeds donated to Momma’s House, a nonprofit providing housing and support for young mothers in Long Island, the Shanks’ hometown.
“I’ve been very fortunate with my life and I thought it would be nice to give back,” says Colleen. “It has been so amazing; everybody rose to the occasion even in spite of the wildfires. One of the vendors had to evacuate her house and she still showed up today. It’s great to see so many people here, and happy, and shopping to raise funds and awareness. That’s what’s amazing about Toluca Lake: Everyone shows up and is there for each other.”
On December 13, the second night of the Festival of Lights, Chabad of Toluca Lake hosted its annual Chanukah Party and Menorah Lighting at the Chase Bank parking lot on Riverside Drive. Attendees enjoyed free fun for the whole family, featuring latkes, jelly doughnuts, hot soup and coffee; live music; a fire-juggling show by Ivan Pecel; hands-on crafts and dreidel fidget spinners for the kids; and a special guest appearance by Fritz Coleman. The event also included a toy collection drive benefiting Tarzana Children’s Hospital.
Toluca Lake Garden Club Toy Donation
At their December 13 meeting at Lakeside Golf Club, members of the Toluca Lake Garden Club donated more than 50 toys and other gifts to be distributed among LAPD North Hollywood Area’s many community programs helping local families in need, crime victims and the elderly. “What’s really awesome is that the stuff that’s collected in the division stays in the division,” says Senior Lead Officer Rob Benavidez. “We have such a diverse community, with demographics from people who can give to people who need help. This is my 14th year coming to this luncheon, and every single year it gets better and better.”
“We’ve been doing this as a club for 25 years,” says Garden Club President Dana Boyd. “We enjoy such strong community support, and this gives us the opportunity to gather what we have and share it with those who need it. Our police officers are on the front lines and know where the need is greatest, so we appreciate that they come to us with opportunities to help. We’re so grateful for the partnerships we have built with LAPD and the City on our shared issues over the years, which benefits the community.”
Kling Street Kids
On December 23, the annual Kling Street Kids charity event raised $26,627.60 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, surpassing its $25,000 goal and bringing the total amount donated over the course of the past 16 years to an incredible $208,659.55. Families flocked to purchase treats, shop for gifts, sponsor pillow pets for sick children, and enjoy a huge array of activities — including live music, pony and train rides, a petting zoo, face painting, bounce houses, and sledding on 10 tons of real snow brought in for the occasion.
For the story behind this inspiring neighborhood tradition, read “Kling Street Kids.”