Pico Boulevard based-businesses are partnering up to raise money for the Santa Monica High School Athletic Booster Club, also known as The Viking Fund.

The donations drive will run from September 12-20 as part of the Buy Local/Give Local campaign orchestrated by Buy Local.

The Viking Fund is a nonprofit corporation, which operates as a volunteer support group for the Santa Monica High School athletic programs by providing financial assistance and moral support to Samohi students, athletes, coaches and teams. The fund works closely with the Samohi athletics administration and coaches. The booster club also works to maintain the quality of the school’s athletic programs, improve their athletic facilities and coordinate fundraising activities.

Santa Monica High School parent and Viking Fund football mom, Lori Whitesell, couldn’t be happier that Pico businesses will be supporting the fund.

“It feels terrific,” Whitesell said. “We are very much a part of the Santa Monica community. I specifically represent football and football is an intimate part of Santa Monica tradition … To partner with our businesses along Pico, it feels like we’re just one great big team.”

Whitesell believes that Santa Monicans should buy local to support the community, so the community will then support residents.

“It just makes it simple. We’re all part of the same community … We have a very unique relationship with our city … a quarter of a cent of our sales tax goes to our schools. So the more that we can support our local businesses, the more we actually support our children. So that partnership is very, very valuable.”

As a parent, Whitesell also believes teaching buy local habits to our children is important.

“It teaches are children that it’s beneficial to support the local businesses and not just the online retailers who have no names and no faces. This way we build relationships with people. We get to know our neighbors and we can be there for each other.”

Pico restaurant Upper West (3321 Pico Blvd.) is excited to be part of the Buy Local week event, as it allows them the chance to give back to the Santa Monica community.

“We feel very blessed to have a thriving business in Santa Monica,” said Upper West social media manager Jennifer Wilson. “We do work hard to provide good service and food to our community. We love buy local, we are a locally owned business and want to support all local businesses in the area so that we have a thriving business community!”

Wilson said that Upper West supports other local vendors by sourcing from the farmer’s market on a weekly basis and purchasing their fish from Santa Monica Seafood.

“We love working with local charities as well, we love to give back in anyway that we can and look forward to supporting the Viking Fund with the sales of our Ahi Tuna Tacos!”

Another Pico business that signed up for the event is Virtual Snow (3105 Pico Blvd.), an establishment where patrons can learn to ski or snowboard year-round on virtual indoor ski and snowboard training equipment.

“I like supporting what is going on,” said founder and owner of Virtual Snow, Bob Salerno. “I’m local and a lot of Santa Monica people come here to train for skiing or snowboarding. I just wanted to help with a promotion to give back. So we generate some money from Buy Local and we give some back to the Viking Fund.”

As far as what the Viking Fund plans to use the money for, Whitesell said there are numerous options.

“There’s never enough money for athletics in our community. All of our teams are always frantically trying to raise money. And this year the football team, the money that we raise will go toward things like footballs and mouth guards and kneepads and repair of equipment to keep our players safe.”

The businesses participating in the Pico Boulevard/Viking Fund Buy Local event include:

Acapillow Home Furnishings – 3030 Pico Blvd.

Will support The Viking Fund by donating 5 percent of sales. Additional fundraising for Samohi arts programs will take place during their 20th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 3, from 5 -10 p.m.

Artistic Picture Frames – 3229 Pico Blvd.

Will support The Viking Fund by donating 5 percent of sales.

Bergamot Cafe – 2525 Michigan Ave.

Will donate 5 percent of the sales of their most popular sandwich, The Pesto Chicken & Provolone Panino, for the week.

CrossFit Reflex – 3328 Pico Blvd.

Will support The Viking Fund by donating 5 percent of my sales proceeds.

Gilbert’s Restaurant – 2526 Pico Blvd.

Will donate a portion of sales proceeds to The Viking Fund.

lo/cal coffee and market – 2214 Pico Blvd.

Will give 5 percent of all cold brew sales of the entire week, including growlers and re-fills.

Sewing Arts Center – 3330 Pico Blvd.

Will donate 5 percent of sales.

Upper West Restaurant – 3321 Pico Blvd.

Will donate 5 percent of the sales of from Ahi Tuna Taco for the week.

Virtual Snow – 3105 Pico Blvd.

Will donate 5 percent of sales proceeds to The Viking Fund from any purchase made by a visitor who comes in, mentions “Buy Local” and buys during Buy Local, Give Local Week.

As part of the Buy Local, Give Local Week events, the Santa Monica Wellbeing Buy Local Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Parking Lot. The festival will showcase the services and products provided by Santa Monica businesses.

To learn more about the Viking Fund visit http://www.samohi.smmusd.org/athletics/vikingfund.html

To read more about Buy Local, Give Local Week visit

http://www.buylocalsantamonica.com/events/2015/9/12/buy-local-give-local-week-2015.html

jennifer@www.smdp.com

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