The other day, T and I went on a short walk through our neighborhood. We were inspired to do so on this occasion as there’s a small skateboard shop at the corner where our dry cleaner used to be. For the dozens of times we’d walked from our house to that dry cleaner and back during the earlier years of T’s life (and well before his birth, actually), we had yet to set foot inside of this new business. As much as we enjoy supporting small businesses in our city, it was pretty shameful that we’d not even popped in even for a quick second before. Well, it was high-time for an “ollie 180.”
As it turns out, Long Beach Skate has been around now for almost three years. Owners Tim and Carrie Scanlan started the shop out on a slow and steady pace and a much smaller scale just a few doors down from their current location at the corner of 7th and Obispo in the Rose Park South neighborhood. They’ve steadily grown in popularity and size as their core base of support and clientele expands, which pushed them to move into the new and larger corner storefront earlier this year.
Not only is LB Skate a destination for anyone searching for the latest and greatest of decks, trucks, wheels, stickers, and clothing, but they also are a repair shop. As the owner Tim put it, if a kid comes in and has a busted wheel and only $5 in his pocket, they’ll do anything to help him get back on his board. Bottom line, LB Skate is devoted to the love of skateboarding whatever the
I ended up leaving my first visit to LB skate with a few gifts in my bag for others this holiday season, as well as a new school shirt for T. Yeah, LB Skate offers polo-style collared shirts that (per Tim) are district-approved for uniform wear. They offer shirts in white, black, navy, and maroon, or most if not all of the color schemes district-wide. T got a navy one, but I might be back for more before the year is out. Trust me, your kids will be stoked to wear these to school (or work, they’d make great work shirts, too). And your kids will love the stickers for their school notebooks, too.
Another bonus from our visit was that I learned that LB Skate was one of this year’s co-sponsors for Autism In Long Beach’s (AILB) toy drive. Well, talk about making it easy for us to swing back by the shop sooner than later! You already know how I feel about the season being focused on giving to those who need it most, and T and I had already been talking about how important it is to give this season to the kids who won’t have a Christmas (or fill-in-your-favorite-gifting-holiday-here… oh, by the way, hope those celebrating are having a Happy Hanukkah!); luckily those talks seem to be sinking in (finally!) and he was all over the idea, too (woot!). We went over again earlier this week and dropped off a stocking stuffed with a small LEGO set, toy car, and a couple of puzzles, along with a few other items. Hopefully those small things will help make a child or two’s holiday a wee bit happier.
By the way, if you happen to see a bunch of bros and Bettys decked out in the threads of Christmases past loitering about Long Beach Skate the afternoon of Monday December 17, don’t call the donut shop (that’s skater slang for the police, RMT’ers). Skateboarding isn’t a crime, and neither is this affront to fashion. While the shop will accept toy donations for AILB through December 20th, the real fun to be had is this Monday 2p.m. to 5p.m. at LB Skate’s “Ugly Sweater” Party and Toy Drive, so don’t be fashionably (or unfashionably) late. The flyer and Facebook post here has all the details.
Can’t make LB Skate on Monday? Well, you’re in luck as there are a LOT of options to give to our local kids this season. Here’s our short-list of programs and groups that our family plans to give to (or already has) here in Long Beach (CA):
Spark of Love. In their 20th season, this program benefits under-served children and teens in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura and Riverside counties. This drive collects new, unwrapped toys and sporting equipment from donors just like you and me (their goal this season is 500,000 items – !), and it is co-sponsored by ABC7 and LA County Fire here in the Los Angeles / Southern California area. For drop-off locations, special events, other sponsoring businesses, and suggested donation ideas especially for teens, please see this link. Spark of Love will collect toys in drop-off bins through Christmas Eve, and from the looks of their very active and extensive calendar, organizers will hold special collection events through sometime around December 22, but the earlier your donation is given, the better. See above links for cash donation specifics.
LBPD Toy Patrol 2012. Through a collaborative effort of the Long Beach Police Department, local businesses, and other organizations around the city, the Toy Patrol is collecting new, unwrapped toys for local youth (especially those 12-years-old and up) through December 22. Cash donations are also welcome (see previous link for details). We found our donation bin at our local Long Beach Public Library, but many other businesses have set out drop-off boxes (see this link for a more comprehensive list).
Miller Children’s Hospital. T’s school held a toy drive for those kids who will be spending this holiday season not at home but in our local children’s hospital. It took me a few times to explain to T the concept of sick kids living in the hospital (that they have more than just stuffy noses and coughs), but I think he finally got it. While collection on this drive ended yesterday, please keep in mind the hospital needs toys and items year-round! You can check out this Child Life Wish List for details on anytime needs and wants.
WomenShelter Gift Card Drive by Gazette Newspapers. I’ve participated in this donation drive many times before in season’s past, and I plan to participate again this year, too. Have a random gift card sitting around collecting dust or just a card you don’t need-need but know that someone out there might really appreciate it? Or better yet, have a bunch of merch to return to a store you don’t normally shop at and really can’t use the store credit you’ll be getting from that return? If the answer is yes to either (or both) of those questions, then this is the donation drive for you! Donors may mail gift cards or drop them off personally to the Gazette Newspaper offices on 2nd Street in Long Beach (CA) (full contact details and address information here). Collection for this drive officially ends TODAY (Fri. Dec. 14); however, I’ve been past deadline in year’s past and my cards were accepted without a problem, so I’m guessing (hoping?) that cards will be accepted and welcome through the end of the holiday period.
Annual Coastal Cuties Pajama Drive. Our mom group sponsors a group of kids residing at a local battered women’s shelter here in Long Beach (CA) each holiday season with a “just pajamas” drive. About 50 kids ages 0-17 are helped every December with each child receiving a new set of PJs, all thanks to our generous play group families who usually step up to sponsor all of the kids within 2-3 days of the call-to-action going out. This one is so easy for us to do, yet at the same time it means so much for a child who might have just arrived at a shelter with only the clothes on their back. Now that just made me feel all warm and cozy, how about you?
Please consult the interwebs and my posted links for more information on these causes and/or ones closer to your home. While some of these causes are local to Long Beach, others are part of more nationally based programs and may be in your neighborhood, too.
It’s never too early – or late – to start a conversation or course of action with your kids as it relates to giving to those less fortunate. What are some ways you are encouraging the “Christmas is about giving not getting” (T’s own words!) concept this season and/or year-round, RMT’ers?
Long Beach Skate is at 3138 E. 7th St., Long Beach, CA 90804. For more information on the Ugly Sweater Party and Toy Drive or if you have any questions about merchandise availability in-store, please call 562/434-5LBS (5527). For more information on any of the other organizations listed above, see the websites as linked for contact details.