Dining for a Cause

For longtime Manhattan Beach residents and high school sweethearts John and Carol Shafer, a spirit of giving has guided them through 42 years of marriage.

For longtime Manhattan Beach residents and high school sweethearts John and Carol Shafer, a spirit of giving has guided them through 42 years of marriage.

John, a successful dentist in Hermosa Beach, frequently travels on mission trips to rural parts of Honduras, Vietnam and Kenya and offers dental care to children in cancer clinics. Carol, a celebrated jewelry designer and consultant, is a member of Sandpipers (26 years!) and Neptunian Woman’s Club of Manhattan Beach, serves on the board of directors for the LA5 Rotary Club, and sings at Hope Chapel, Hermosa Beach.

Together, they frequently host events at their beautiful neo-classic home, the holidays being a particularly busy time for the active duo. Southbay Magazine was fortunate to partner with Providence TrinityCare Hospice Foundation and help promote one of their most rewarding programs, The Gathering Place in Redondo Beach. John, Carol and daughter Heather graciously opened their doors for a festive event that brought together a handful of invited guests from the community in support of this wonderful cause. Chef Christine Brown of Restaurant Christine generously donated her services and a four-course menu to the delight of the attendees, who dined on tables exquisitely decorated for the season by interior designer and event planner Robert Esterley. Here’s a peek inside the intimate gathering…


Hosts John and Carol Shafer and daughter Heather take a family portrait in front of their elegantly decorated Christmas tree.


Photos above: Guests make their entrance; a warm glow in the fireplace; TrinityCare’s Robin Steen tends bar as guests look on; Saint Nick; raising a glass to The Gathering Place and excellent hosts; a Rob Esterley floral arrangement in a beautiful vintage silver piece, courtesy of Geary’s in Beverly Hills.

Photos above: Carol entertains guests with her sparkling humor; bottles of OneHope Wine; detail of the Shafers’ magnificent tree; Chef Christine at work in the kitchen; a glittering table is set.

The Gathering Place

After guests were seated at the stunning tables created by Esterley, Barbara Roberts of Providence TrinityCare Hospice Foundation introduced Claire Towle, director of The Gathering Place, who made a moving speech about the support group program and the people it serves. Founded in 2000, the non-profit center has helped more than 10,000 individuals and family members grieving from a loss and making a life transition. Funded in part by the Beach Cities Health District and grants, the program also relies heavily on private donations. Guests were encouraged to support the center’s honorable mission and help spread the word to other members of the community. The friendly group then lifted their glasses in honor of this special cause and toasted the warm hospitality of John and Carol. After a delicious dinner and decadent chocolate desert, each guest opened a festive Christmas “cracker” filled with charming gifts and the traditional tissue paper hats. One of the servers, hailing all the way from Great Britain, commented that the gesture made her feel like she was home.

If you would like to offer your support to The Gathering Place, either in volunteer service or monetary donation, please contact them at 310-257-3533, or trinitycarehospice.org.