Christmas and the holidays is all around, yet there are thousands of people all over Southern California who are not feeling the spirit of the season for a variety of reasons. While you shop for that must-have toy or perfect gift, take a moment to make a donation of your money or time to one of these worthy charities.
Salvation Army of Southern California
The Salvation Army of Southern California, which provides a vast range of services to youth, the homeless, veterans, seniors, addicts and more, breaks out their distinctive red kettles and accompanying bell ringers this week, but if you can’t find one or don’t have cash, there are a variety of other ways to give. In addition to the Online Red Kettle, you can make monetary donations by phone by calling 1-800-Sal-Army. Don’t have money to give? The Salvation Army has dozens of Family Stores throughout Southern California, accepting clothing, furniture, appliances, even cars. To find a Family Store, call 1-800-95-TRUCK or visit SAtruck.com. If you have a large donation, the Salvation Army truck will even pick the donation up at your home. If its time you have to spare, the Salvation Army is also signing up volunteers.
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
1734 E. 41st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90058
Food banks across the country are stretched thin, so organizations like the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank are coming up with innovative ways to build their supplies. In addition to accepting donations and directing donors toward neighborhood pantries, the organization is encouraging people to organize their own virtual food drive to get friends and families involved in the fight against hunger.
Van Nuys, CA
Since 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have lovingly packaged and shipped more than 815,000 care packages containing letters, toiletries and goodies from home to soldiers deployed overseas. The organization says their most urgent needs now are for personal letters for deployed troops, veterans and wounded warriors, hand-made scarves and paracord bracelets, Beanie Babies, WebKinz and trolls and monetary donations to help pay for the production and shipping of each package. Checks payable to Operation Gratitude can be sent to 16444 Refugio Road, Encino, CA 91436, and donations can be made on line via Operation Gratitude or through Paypal.
Toys For Tots
With a mission to collect new, unwrapped toys throughout the Holiday months of October, November and December for those children who are less fortunate, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is by far one of the most popular. And, for good reason. Helping children in need during the holidays is a true gift, so help make a difference this year and play an active role in your local community by bundling up some toys for the little ones. If you don’t have time to bring a gift to one of the drop off locations, you can also donate online. For those who do have the time to buy some toys, you can find a drop off location through the Toys for Toys website.
Los Angeles Mission
303 East 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
This holiday season, make a difference by volunteering at the Los Angeles Mission. During Thanksgiving, Christmas as well as other times of the year, The LA Mission offers up a way to give back. LAM’s Annual Thanksgiving celebration is a wonderful way to serve up plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and more to those in need. In addition, for Christmas, they hold their annual Christmas dinner for families of Skid Row. Lines wrap around the block as families enjoy a winter wonderland with meals, toys, shoes and healthcare. For each event, you can volunteer your time or financially. To learn more, visit www.losangelesmission.org/.
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Darleene Powells is the features editor of CBSLA.com.