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Give a Little of Your Love by Giving Back During The Holiday Season

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2018 and hello to a new year. With just over a week until 2019 you may be wondering how you can give back during the holiday season. Yes, you can make a financial donation to a nonprofit cause near and dear to you, but here in Los Angeles, there are many ways you can lend a hand, too. From adopting a beach to reading to kids to helping with a delicious holiday dinner, a little of your time and charity can make a world of difference for those in need this and every season. Happy holidays! And be sure to check out sites like VolunteerMatch and LAWorks, where you can find nonprofits that fit your interests and skill sets.

  1. Donate a book to kids in need
    According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 19.9 percent of children in the Golden State lived in families who couldn’t make ends meet in 2016. Better With Books provides age-appropriate literature to just such kids — sign up to help them set up their holiday book drive on Dec. 23, or donate some of your favorite kids’ reading materials.
  2. Host a donation party for baby items
    Want to give back to the littlest guys this season? Host a donation party through Baby2Baby, which gathers items for infants, kids and families.
  3. Shop. Yes, shop. At LA Original 
    LA is the creative capital of the world. As home to a growing creative community and as the largest manufacturing hub in America, LA is where  new ideas are born and made. LA original provides a platform to showcase our diverse makers and  promote locally designed, assembled, or manufactured goods through a line of LA-branded products—with proceeds supporting creative entrepreneur programs across Los Angeles. The LA Original program is dedicated to helping support creative entrepreneur programs across Los Angeles. Proceeds from the LA Original program received by the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles will go to supporting the Downtown Women’s Center’s “Made by DWC” program that teaches job training and maker skills to women transitioning out of homelessness. LA Original intends to support a variety of programs for LA’s creative entrepreneurs and manufacturers in the future.
  4. Support citizens transitioning out of homelessness
    The 40-year-old Downtown Women’s Center provides job training to homeless women, including in the field of product design where residents create stylish stuff like cards, candles, and T-shirts that you can purchase at one of its stores, other retailers around the city, or on the Made by DWC website. You can also check out what the center is in need of  — everything from sleeping bags to shoes — and spend three minutes helping them stock up via their Amazon wish list. Nonprofit The People Concern (which was born out of the merger of two major LA social services agencies a couple of years back) provides health care, substance abuse services, and permanent housing to those navigating a path out of homelessness. To help, volunteer at either the Santa Monica or Downtown facilities, where the group is looking for folks to assist with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, donation-sorting as well as volunteers to teach creative writing, yoga, arts, and more. Also consider donating food, hygiene kits, and welcome-home packages to give residents a solid start.
  5. Help a rescued pit bull
    Pitties are still among the breeds most commonly dropped off at shelters, and it’s no different here in L.A. Consider donating to Angel City Pit Bulls, which helps to rehab the loving animals and find them forever homes.
  6. Provide underserved L.A. kids with toys
    The Los Angeles Fire Department and ABC7 have partnered to put on a toy drive for kids in need. Spark of Love needs financial donations and toys, which can be dropped off at your local fire station.
  7. Adopt-A-Family for the holidays
    Families Forward Learning Center lets you give gifts and a holiday meal for a whole family. They provide services to low-income folks in Pasadena with young kids.
  8. Put your art to work
    The Art of Elysium pairs artists with communities or individuals in need, bringing the healing power of art as far and wide as possible. Donate your time, your talent or your money to help keep these programs going.
  9. Teach computer science skills to the next generation of coders
    The goal of Black Girls Code is a lofty one: to encourage girls of color to become innovators in STEM fields through exposure to computer science and technology at a young age… and train 1 million girls by the year 2040. To help the national organization accomplish it, sign on to volunteer with the LA chapter, which is often seeking experts in science and tech fields (we’re looking at you, Silicon Beach crew) to lead and teach workshops to aspiring “tech divas.” And if you’re not the science-y type, there’s always a need for non-tech volunteers, too.
  10. Deliver meals to seniors on your lunch break
    For homebound seniors and seriously ill adults, having someone bring a meal to their home is a literal lifesaver. The mission of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is two-fold: Yes, the food part is obviously important, but the organization stresses that simply getting to chat for a few minutes with the friendly face dropping off a meal can make a big difference in the lives of those who live alone.
  11. Support the LGBTQ community
    The long-running Los Angeles LGBT Center provides healthcare, social services, housing, and more to members of the LGBT community in need, in addition to doing advocacy work. To learn how to get involved (the org needs help with both regular programs and special events), attend a monthly volunteer information session. You can also drop off gently used coats, casual clothes, and professional wear that can be used for job interviews along with new socks and underwear that the center distributes to homeless LGBT youth.
  12. Read to kids
    In order to encourage underserved kids to cultivate a love of reading and set them up for academic success down the road, you can sign up to read aloud to small groups of youngsters during Saturday reading clubs at area elementary schools organized by the nonprofit Reading to Kids. While that’s happening, their parents are getting trained on tips and tricks to keep them reading at home, and the children get to take donated books home.
  13. Clean up the beach
    The environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay is focused on making LA’s coastal waters safe, healthy, and clean through education, advocacy, and giving hands-on examples of what it’s doing via the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. One simple way to make a difference, though, is to participate in the group’s monthly beach cleanups taking place at a different beach on the third Saturday of the month. You can also get your whole office involved through the Suits on the Sand private cleanups (just tell everyone they’re going to the beach and get into specifics once you’re out there), as well as Adopt-a-Beach, where you commit to ensuring a specific part of the beach is cleaned up multiple times a year.
  14. Rescue a pet
    Taking home a pet is a serious commitment, but it’s also the absolute best thing in the world (hence why millions of us pick up poop on a daily basis). If you’re ready for a furry new roommate, there are lots of rescue groups to consider, many of which frequently run adoption events, including LA Animal RescueMuch Love Animal Rescue, and One Dog Rescue, which focuses on senior and special needs dogs. (These and more than 100 other rescue groups are part of the No-Kill Los Angeles coalition, all of which are helping homeless pets find their people.) Most of the organizations are also looking for foster homes for dogs and cats: Foster parents take care of pets temporarily and bring them to adoption events until they finally get their happy ending… via a home and human.

    Jacqueline Tager | CalBre#: 1476997
    jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes | (323) 697-3040
    Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage
    1801 N Hillhurst Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027

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