Best Volunteer Opportunities for the Holidays in Los Angeles
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The holiday season is approaching, and during this festive time it’s even more important to stop and think how we can help others. There are many ways to help others — whether you’re looking to help by donating items, time, or funds, whether you want to help once a year or on a regular basis, here are 12 ways you can make a positive difference during the holiday season.
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As you get ready to celebrate the holidays with friends, there’s one simple thing you can do to make the celebration even more special. You can easily add in a fundraiser for No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry wants to help with solutions to the problem — that 1 in 5 kids in the United States isn’t getting enough to eat on a regular basis. It’s free and easy to sign-up online. And, don’t forget you can also make a donation anytime to No Kid Hungry on their website.
Big Sunday: The Holiday List
6111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
At Big Sunday, they operate under the belief that “everyone has some way that they can help somebody else.” They offer multiple ways to donate, pitch in, and help. You can participate in a community activity, donate (new or used items or cash), and check their online calendar for upcoming special events because volunteering isn’t limited to just the holiday season. Big Sunday has more than 300 holiday volunteer opportunities on its list. “Whoever you are, whatever you do, there is somebody who could use your help this holiday season.”
Holiday Tribute Cards for LA Regional Food Bank
L.A. Regional Food Bank
1701 E. 41st St., Los Angeles, CA 90058
You and your family can help out the L.A. Regional Food Bank by sponsoring a Holiday Tribute Card to help the hungry. The tribute greeting cards start at $5. Each dollar provides food for 4 meals so each $5 tribute card purchased will enable the Food Bank to provide 20 healthy meals for our neighbors in need. In addition, there are several Saturday sessions of Stock the Pantry events happening in the next few months.
Holiday Toy Drives
Now that the kids may be getting their holiday wish lists ready, it’s a good time to talk to them about the spirit of giving to others. A simple way to do that is to participate in a holiday toy drive. You can help with the Toys for Tots holiday toy drive by donating a toy; hosting an event at home, work or school; or by volunteering in a local warehouse. ABC 7 and Southern California Firefighters sponsor the Spark of Love toy drive. Check the website for information about how you donate and/or volunteer.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services program assists low-income families served by DPSS by providing new gifts such as toys, clothes and food to help the families and children celebrate the holidays in a special way. Families can sign up for the Adopt-A-Family Program and make a difference for needy families and children during the holidays.
Holidays From the Heart
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Holidays from the Heart program aims to make the holidays a little happier for chronically ill children and their families. There are a number of ways to help, including sponsoring a family, as well as providing bulk gift items (clothing, diapers), making a monetary donation, or serving as a volunteer (shopping for gifts, distributing gifts). Check the website for more details on how to help. (Last year, over 450 families were sponsored).
6435 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048
Baby2Baby works year-round to ensure that no child is without the basic necessities of childhood. They accept donations all year long for items that will benefit children (infants to age 12) including but not limited to car seats, clothing (children’s and maternity), hygiene items (toothpaste, soap, sunscreen), coats, and more. Families can also get involved by hosting a donation drive (monetary or by collecting items) or by volunteering. Check the website for details.
The Giving Spirit
Brentwood Presbyterian Church
12000 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Giving Spirit is an organization that assembles and distributes “survival kits” to families living on the street. Each kit contains about 70 items. The Giving Spirit has been reaching the homeless in and around Los Angeles for fifteen years now. Families can help by participating in their Outreach event scheduled for Thursday, December 8th through Sunday, December 11th. Volunteers can help assemble and distribute these kits. Check the website to sign-up for a particular shift. If you can’t make it to the Outreach event, families can still help by donating funds or items that are needed for the kits. (Check the website for a list of items that are needed).
One Voice Holiday Food Program
The Barker Hangar (aka The Santa Monica Air Center)
3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica Airport, Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Holiday Food Program provides about 2,500 families with Christmas food baskets, books, and toys. To make this program possible, volunteers are needed to sort and package the food as well as to help distribute the packages. Check the website for days and times volunteers are needed and for a description of the tasks you’ll be asked to perform.
The Adopt-A-Family program helps families who are experiencing hard times due to unemployment, medical issues, homelessness, or other challenges. Families are then provided with clothing, food, and gifts. You can go online and find your local Salvation Army Community Corps which will then provide you with information on adopting a family in need.
The goal of the Malala Fund is making sure all girls are able to receive a safe, quality education. It’s really easy to donate gently used kids’ and women’s clothing which helps support the Malala Fund. Go to the website to get a post-paid bag, fill it up, and leave it for your mail carrier. Your donation helps girls go to school.
Help a Mother Out is on a mission — to ensure all babies have access to clean diapers. Most people may not even be aware that public assistance programs (such as food stamps) don’t cover diapers. Families can help by either donating funds and/or sponsoring a “diaper drive.” Information is available online but can be as easy as asking all friends and families to pick up an extra container of baby wipes and/or diapers before heading over to your house for a holiday celebration. (There is a drop-off location in Santa Monica).
Holidays for Heroes
American Red Cross
The Holidays for Heroes program (which used to be called the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program) thanks and celebrates members of the military and veterans living in our communities. Families can write out cards offering messages of thanks and encouragement which will then be distributed. More information is available here.
Food on Foot is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the poor and homeless of Los Angeles through programs that provide nutritious meals, clothing, work opportunities and ultimately the transition to full-time employment and life off the streets. We accept no government funds, thanks to the support from our generous donors and volunteers.
The annual events hosted Los Angeles Mission make for great volunteering. This year, make a difference by helping to feed the hungry and homeless. By either donating or volunteering, you can be part of the solution and make a huge difference to those who need your help the most.
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