Volunteering is, and always will be, a great way to give back to the community. There is a cause for many social issues in the city and beyond, and that makes it easier to find something that speaks to your heart. Here are a few organizations that would love to have you on board.
Social Justice Learning Institute
664 East Regent Street
Inglewood, CA 90301
The Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) has several programs under its umbrella, but one of its main missions is the 100 Seeds of Change initiative. The City of Inglewood is considered a food desert, which means it lacks access to healthier and more nutritious food options. SJLI assists families in the area by distributing fruit trees and hosting gardening and healthy cooking classes to empower the community to grow and prepare healthy foods. Volunteers are always needed to help tend public and school gardens and provide hands-on assistance at events throughout the year.
Los Angeles Guerilla Gardening
When volunteer work is done with a group of stealth bomber-like individuals, it has a fun, sneaky angle to it. The folks with Guerilla Gardening operate behind code names, and you can only reach them via email, but they will definitely respond to your willingness to help. The organization spots unused plots of land all over the city and turns them into viable gardens. If you like the idea of operating under the cloak of night, Guerilla Gardening is the group for you.
Do Good Bus
2554 Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 402
Venice, CA 90291
What if you could sign up for a surprise volunteer mission and leave the rest to the pros? The Do Good Bus leaders know how to keep you on your toes. Sign up for a ride under one of the available categories — environment, children, animals, building — and show up at the designated time. Hop on the bus, meet lots of new people and have a few hours of helpful fun. There is a fee for the ride, which pays for the trip, of course, but also a meal to keep your energy high. You can even host a private ride for friends and family or create a team-building event for co-workers. The Do Good Bus makes it easy for you to do something good for someone else.
Lucky Puppy and Retail
12238 Ventura Boulevard, Unit B
Studio City, CA 91604
In less than a year, Lucky Puppy has provided homes for many, many lucky dogs. If you are an animal lover and want to spend a couple of hours a week playing with pups, commit to being a volunteer dog walker. The staff at Lucky Puppy loves to keep its animals happy, healthy and active, and it’s all the better if local community members can lend a hand to make it happen. The dogs love the fresh air, and you are guaranteed to hear passersby oohing and ahhing over your new little friend.
3303 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite #320
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Do you have an outstanding talent in the arts or athletics and yearn to share it with others? Volunteer your time as a qualified expert and lead children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses and their siblings with a bit of creative expression or sporty playtime. Volunteers will be appropriately vetted before accepted, but once you’re in, your work will be flexible yet steady. This program may be slightly more commitment-heavy than other volunteer opportunities, but the payoff runs high. If you love working with youth and understand how emotionally gratifying your time can be for someone with an illness, this is a great organization.
Chrystal Baker is a freelance food, events, culture travel contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine, Frugivore Magazine and Politic365. She is the co-editor of the recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere, as well as the Farm 2 Plate Culinary Club site.