Making A Difference: Tis The Season

Categories // LA Focus Wednesday, 06 December 2017

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Getting into the holiday spirit generally means greater attention to the needy and others. As the holidays near, many charitable organizations in the community have special fundraising appeals to help them provide funds to fulfill their yearly missions.

 Giving Tuesday—which raised $177 million last year and falls five days after Thanksgiving—has not only been recognized nationally as a time to give back in some way, but it marks the beginning of the holiday season of giving.
      Twenty-two percent of American adults are giving more to charity in 2017 than they did last year, according to a new report, while only 12 percent said they are giving less. Money is the most preferred method, followed by clothing and food donations and volunteering time, Bankrate found.
      Another way more and more people are giving to charity is by making donations in the name of family or friends in lieu of exchanging gifts. Some churches offer programs where you can adopt a family in need for Christmas and provide them with a range of needs from groceries to winter coats.
      Whether it’s your time or money, there are countless ways to donate this holiday season. Toy, food and clothing giveaways are an annual tradition for many churches and local businesses while city council members do all they can to assist in providing referrals to those in need. If you are in need this holiday season or you want to help others in need, listed below are just some of the worthwhile programs you can tap into:
Department of Public Social Service's (DPSS) Adopt-A-Family Program: This program assists low- income families with toys, clothes and food during the holidays. Those who want to help can fill out a sponsor form no later than Dec. 13 and coordinators match you with the perfect family, providing a family name as well as their phone number, address, children's ages, clothing & shoe sizes, preferred colors and any particular "wish list" they have, though sponsors decide what they will give. Gift baskets, grocery gift cards, meals and gifts are all appropriate. For information, call (213) 744-4344 or  e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Homeless Housing Placement Agency: Requests for services increase greatly during the holiday season. Donations are gladly accepted for clothing for children and adults as well as  canned and non-perishable items. The agency is located at 1644 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 103, Los Angeles 90017. Call (213) 484-2150.
Minority AIDS Project: This organization provides food, transportation and nursing referrals to its HIV clients. This holiday they would be more than grateful to accept donations of toys, infant clothing and food. You can drop off donations at 5147 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles 90016 Call: Thea Williams (323) 936-4949
Project Angel Tree: Prison Fellowship Los Angeles reaches out to children with incarcerated parents by getting churches and other groups to purchase Christmas gifts of toys, bikes, clothing and books for children and youth. Many local church’s participate in Project Angel Tree. For information on how you can help, contact (800) 55-ANGEL (2-6435)
Watts-Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club:  The Watts-Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club feeds the hungry, as well as donates clothing and toys to children in need. They remain open during the holidays to kids for different activities and field trips. To volunteer your time, call the Watts-Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club, 1339 120th St., LA 90059, Call Veronica at (213) 628-3673
Salvation Army of Southern California: The Salvation Army of Southern California, which provides a vast range of services to youth, the homeless, seniors, veterans and more, breaks out their distinctive red kettles accepting monetary donations.  You can also make donations by phone by calling 1-800-725-2769. In addition, the Salvation Army has family stores located across Los Angeles that accept donations of clothing, furniture, appliances and toys.  If you have time to spare, the Salvation Army is also signing up volunteers.  Call 1-800-725-2769
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank:  Food banks across the county are stretched thin at Christmas time, so organizations like the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank have come up with  innovative ways to build their supplies. In addition to food and monetary donations, the mission will accept gift cards for local grocery store chains in the Los Angeles area. Volunteers are always needed to help prepare, serve and feed the hungry and homeless. Call (323) 234-0943 or visit
Toys for Tots:  With a mission to collect new, unwrapped toys throughout the holiday 
months for children in need, the U.S. Marine Corp 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 community by donating toys at the various drop-off locations.  To find a location near you, go to
His Sheltering Arms: You can help brighten the lives of women and children living in this residential facility with much-needed donations of new twin-sized bedspreads, pillows, comforters and blankets. Toiletries and monetary donations are always needed.
The facility is located at 11101 S. Main Street, Los Angeles.  Call Miss Fannie at (213) 810-9974.
Operation Gratitude: Since 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have lovingly packaged and shipped care packages containing letters, holiday cards and goodies from home to servicemen and women deployed overseas.  Cards, letters and goodies can be sent to Operation Gratitude, 16444 Refugio Road, Encino, CA 91436.  Donations can also be made online via Operation Gratitude or Paypal. 
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles: 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 gift items, toys and monetary donations.  For details on what you can do, call (323) 660-2450 or visit

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