By Costa Beavin

The COVID-19 pandemic left many San Clemente workers without jobs. The San Clemente Downtown Business Association (SCDBA) and Assisteens of Capistrano Valley recently launched an initiative to provide $3,000 in gift cards purchased from local downtown San Clemente restaurants to affected local workers.

Assisteens, the youth branch of the Assistance League of Capistrano Valley, makes annual donations to support community needs. Its membership, representing San Clemente and nearby cities, is made up of approximately 90 young women between eighth and 12th grades.

“Our mission is to serve those in the community,” Assisteens Co-Coordinator Kristy Khachigian said in a press release. “What better way to support unemployed workers than to donate gift cards from local businesses that are also struggling during the crisis.”

The San Clemente Downtown Business Association has several members that are serving takeout and groceries in response to the state’s stay-at-home orders. Because many restaurants had to close or reduce operations as a result of COVID-19, the group is offering gift cards to San Clemente employees who had not been able to work.

“We are very grateful to the Assisteens in providing such a generous gift,” San Clemente Downtown Business Association Chair Chris Aitken said in the release. “We are proud to use such funds to support our downtown San Clemente economy by purchasing gift cards from our members to support those who have unfortunately lost their position during this challenging time.”

San Clemente-based businesses can nominate a gift card to an unemployed worker who lost his or her job by contacting the SCDBA at or visit its website at

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