Christmas 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 or by text. 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. You can also give your time by joining the Holiday Drive Special Assembly Day on Dec. 15. Contact Operation Gratitude by email at OpGratVolunteer1@yahoo.com with “Operation Gratitude Volunteer” for information.
CHIPS for KIDS
Join CBS2, KCAL9 and CBSLA.com in kicking off the CHIPS for KIDS toy drive on Dec. 6. News personalities like Rick Garcia, Sharon Tay, Pat Harvey and Jackie Johnson will be on hand with officers from the California Highway Patrol to accept new, unwrapped toys at the CBS Broadcast Center in Studio City throughout the day, starting at 4:30 a.m. Can’t get out to Studio City, but still want to donate a toy? CHIPS for KIDS donation sites are available at all CHP area offices, Mattel Toy Stores, Walgreens Pharmacies, Cardenas Markets and Red Robin restaurants. You can also find donation locations at the Glendale Galleria, the Lakewood Center Mall, the Shops at Montebello, Westfield Topanga, Westfield Culver City Shopping Center and the Antelope Valley Mall.
Josh Duhamel Youth Run
American Red Cross
Parking Lot 5
2600 Barnard Way
Dec. 2, Registration at 9 a.m., Run begins at 11 a.m.
The “Transformers” star and Red Cross celebrity cabinet member will lead his third annual Red Cross Youth Run on Santa Monica Beach. To participate, a minimum donation of $10 is requested. Proceeds from the event have previously benefited the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The Red Cross says this year’s run go toward the Red Cross L.A. Region’s goal of raising $15 million for the PrepareSoCal campaign, to prepare Southern California’s communities for life-threatening disasters.
Darleene Powells is the features editor of CBSLA.com.