Virtual Wine Tasting Using Laptop. Online Party

Amid the ongoing pandemic, some of the city’s most vulnerable individuals, such as the children in the welfare system, have been affected most brutally. 

“From COVID-19, safer-at-home-orders, calls for racial justice, high unemployment and isolation, CASA/LA and children in foster care have been placed under more strain than ever,” said Avery Bell, special events manager for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Los Angeles, also known as CASA/LA. 

Though the pandemic has made public engagement difficult this year, the nonprofit organization is still determined to raise funds for the children.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, CASA/LA will host its seventh annual fundraising event: Wine + Art 2021: A Guided Culinary & Cultural Experience Benefitting Children in The Child Welfare System. This year the event will be hosted by Ser’Darius Blain, best known for his roles in “Jumanji” and “Charmed.” It will also include a virtual wine tasting with influencers and TV personalities Erin and Sara Foster.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the event to be hosted virtually via livestream, but CASA/LA is still working to raise enough funds to help children in the foster system, who have especially been affected by these circumstances. 

“Through the COVID-19 crisis, CASA volunteers are continuing to provide life-changing one-on-one advocacy to children in LA County’s child welfare system,” Bell said.

CASA/LA is a nonprofit organization built on the support of volunteers and those dedicated to helping child victims of severe abuse and neglect by forming trusting relationships with the children. 

In doing so, the victims are provided with a friend and someone in whom they can confide. 

“For 40 years, CASA has recruited, trained and managed volunteers to provide one-on-one advocacy services to children in foster care who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment,” Bell says. 

“CASA volunteers deal with a wide range of challenges that affect Los Angeles’ 30,000 children in the dependency court system, aiding in safe family reunification, education, addressing medical issues, housing and homelessness, and adoption.”

In the past seven years, CASA/LA has raised thousands of dollars toward charities to benefit children in need. This year the community’s support is more vital than ever.

While the city of Los Angeles hosts a number of fundraising events, organizations often fail to engage the city’s diverse community. Wine + Art connects guests with Los Angeles local artists and wineries alike, providing guests with a range of opportunities to get involved.

“Wine + Art is such a unique event in that it pairs the beauty of visual expression with stories of real-life love and loss, overcoming adversity and undeniable hope,” said Wende Julien, CEO of CASA/LA.

“We have a wonderful program lined up, with the help of our CASA volunteer Erin Foster, and all of our amazing food, drink and financial partners in the community, that promises to fill the belly, and the soul, with nourishment.”

Tickets are on sale on CASA/LA’s website and are available in two tiers. General tickets are $125 and include a food and wine box available for pickup or delivery. The box includes delicacies from some of the most popular Los Angeles cafés and wineries. A charcuterie plate can be added for an additional $50 donation, and for an extra $150, guests can participate in preshow wine tasting with the Fosters.

Wine + Art is an event that seeks to bring light in dark times. This fundraiser is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the heart of Los Angeles arts and entertainment while contributing to the city’s most susceptible youth. To get involved with wine, cheese, celebrities and more, visit CASALA.org/wineart.