Contributing gifts, time, food, clothing and money to low-income members of the community can make their holiday a more joyous one.
From food bins in libraries to toy drives in the office, here are some opportunities to share.
ONE VOICE — One Voice, a nonprofit organization in Santa Monica, has been passing out holiday food baskets since 1982.
Turkey, potatoes and apple pie are among food basket treats offered, as well as a toy from Santa, according to Kelli Paul, One Voice program coordinator.
The organization currently serves about 12,500 people with 2,500 baskets.
Volunteers are needed at Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport to help sort, package and give out food.
Families with children are needed Thursday, December 16th, which has been designated as the “Kid Safe” evening, with food sorting activities that are appropriate for children.
On Friday, December 17th, adults and teenagers are needed to box the food and load it.
Night owls can take a second shift, starting around 9 p.m., to finish the work.
Volunteers are most needed Sunday morning, December 19th, to give out the food to thousands of families. Santa will be on hand to pass out toys.
For those short on time, One Voice sells holiday gift cards for $25. The cards are given in a person’s name and are appropriate for friends, family and business associates, according to Paul.
Each gift card purchased provides one low-income family with a basket of food. Donations of new toys for babies through teens are also needed. Information, (310) 558-6878 or www.onevoice-la.org
BIBLE TABERNACLE — Bible Tabernacle at 1761 Washington Way in Venice will pass out toys to about 300 adult-accompanied kids at 9 a.m. Saturday, December 18th.
After a brief service, five kids at a time will be taken to the church “toy store,” where each child can pick out what they want, according to Neal Blackledge, Bible Tabernacle director.
New unwrapped toys are needed, such as inexpensive electronic items and games, according to Blackledge.
He adds that items for teenage girls, such as makeup kits or items for the hair, are usually in short supply.
The Bible Tabernacle also serves a holiday dinner from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Christmas Day Saturday, December 25th.
The tabernacle is expecting close to 2,000 people. Volunteers are needed to help with setting up, serving and cleaning up. Food donations are also needed.
Information, (310) 821-6116.
ST. JOSEPH CENTER — St. Joseph Center, 204 Hampton Drive in Venice, needs donations for its Adopt-a-Family program, which helps those already registered with the center.
On Tuesday, December 21st, each currently registered family will receive one household item and each child under 17 years of age will choose a gift.
Household items, including towels, glasses, toasters, blankets, irons, radios and kitchen items, are helpful household donations.
Also welcome are new gifts in the $10 to $15 range, including toys, dolls, games, art supplies, movie theater gift certificates, clothing or clothing certificates, video rental gift certificates and backpacks.
Baby supplies such as diapers and bottles are also needed, as well as monetary gifts.
St. Joseph Center has a food pantry and accepts food donations on an ongoing basis. Information, Maria Alderete (310) 396-6468 ext. 325.
PERSONALLY INVOLVED —Brandi Cushing at Abbot Kinney Real Estate, 1422 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, wanted to do something charitable for the holiday.
So she set up Abbot Kinney Real Estate as a donation center for Toys for Tots and is accepting new unwrapped toys, especially for teenagers, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Wednesday, December 22nd.
Cushing says she picked up posters and signs from Toys for Tots and distributed them in various shops on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. She and her colleagues also e-mailed their clients to let them know about the toy drive.
“We spend $10 on a couple of cups of coffee,” Cushing says. “It’s a small amount of money to buy a toy and it can make a child who wouldn’t have a nice Christmas really happy.”
ST. AUGUSTINE BY SEA —St. Augustine by the Sea, 1227 Fourth St., Santa Monica will host a holiday lunch for the homeless between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th.
The lunch has been organized by Family Assistance Involving the Homeless for the past 20 years, and clothing, new or used toys and monetary donations will be accepted on the day of the lunch, according to Mimi Adams, one of the founders.
Up to 500 come to the lunch and volunteers are needed that day to help setup, serve and clean up.
Volunteers are asked to arrive by 10 a.m. but may arrive as early as 8:30 a.m. to help.
Adams also asks that volunteers bring a blanket, socks, street clothing or something else to contribute.
“Remember they’re going back to the street,” Adams says of those the lunch serves. Fifth-grade students from Hobart Elementary School will sing at the lunch.
Information, (310) 454-7860.
Julie Kirst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org