It seems at this holiday season we often get so caught up in the frenzy of buying and gift-giving that we tend to back-burner the fact that so many families are struggling just to put food on the table. While this time of year does tend to bring in the dollars for charities and nonprofits, many local nonprofits have a hard time competing with the larger global organizations.
To help highlight some of the great local organizations in the Los Angeles area that are in need of your help this month (and throughout the year), I wanted to begin this month’s spotlight focus on local nonprofits and charities by sharing one of my favorites.
The WestSide Food Bank is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 1981, focused on providing food to social service agencies on the Westside of Los Angeles County. They are also a member of the Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition, a program of Community Partners committed to ending local hunger and homelessness through service coordination, public education, and advocacy.
Along with the great programs the WestSide Food Bank runs -- including programs for underprivileged families, children in preschool, after-school, and day-care programs who don’t get enough to eat at home, and even diaper drives -- the WestSide Food Bank this year continues growing their annual fundraising events. Among the top two, and definitely MUST-DOs for a very worthy cause, is the Santa Monica Pub Crawl. This annual event happening this Saturday (still time to get tickets) brings out thousands of people and the generous participation for local drinking establishments in Santa Monica, for a fun-filled evening of holiday cheer. Last year, over 5,000 people crawled their hearts out to 25 bars, raising over $20,000 dollars for the Westside Food Bank and this year the organizers of the event, including Spin Public Relations’ Kim Koury, are aiming to make this the biggest bash ever! With four fun separate routes and over 35 participating bars and restaurants, feeding the hungry has never been such a great way to kick off the holiday season.
I highly recommend coming out in support of the WestSide Food Bank…BUT HURRY - Tickets are nearly sold out and going fast!
For more information and to buy tickets for the Santa Monica Pub Crawl go to:
Santa Monica Pub Crawl: http://www.santamonicapubcrawl.com/
AND, as if that weren’t enough, because it never really is enough when it comes to helping feed the hungry, Time Warner & the amazing theatre extravaganza show STOMP have banded together to support WestSide Food Bank with a special offer to help STOMP OUT HUNGER! Now’s your chance to see one of my all time favorite shows at the Saban Theater December 17 through January 5 and help support this vital organization.
You can experience this great show by going on Ticketmaster.com's STOMP page, choosing the date for your show and clicking on "Find Tickets". Then just enter the code TWCHUNGER (not case sensitive) into the field and click on "Apply".
For more information on how to help STOMP out Hunger visit WestSide Food Banks website STOMP page: http://www.westsidefoodbankca.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view...
Here are some other great ways you can get involved and help WestSide FoodBank:
1. Westside Food Bank really needs turkeys for the holidays. If you have a spare or two or want to really gift a family with something special, donate a turkey to their Turkey Drive -- Just check out their website for details or bring them to the Food Bank during our regular hours
2. Diapers are urgently needed by our local communities as well. These essential items are not covered under food stamps or other assistance. So, now’s the time to donate diapers to the help keep those bottoms dry. Partially opened diaper packs are apparently welcome as well. They'll take all sizes, though sizes 4-5 are most often requested.
3. Do you have too much fruit from your tree or too many vegies from your garden during the growing season? Well, you can always donate them to WestSide Food Bank as well. There can never be too much fruit and veg and they definitely will accept your home grown edibles.
4. And of course, Westside Food Bank accepts donations of non-perishable food and other items throughout the year from M-F 7am to 5pm. Your can contact Allison Griffith at 310-828-6016 x 12 for more information, to arrange a different drop off time or if you have a perishable food donation.
5. Feeling a need to do even more? Open your heart and Volunteer to help them. Or hold a Food Drive at your home, business, school or faith organization. Please note that they need a week’s notice for barrel delivery and pickup. They will even supply posters and barrel signs if you need them.
6. And especially high in demand items for children include:
• Infant formula
• Jar foods – all flavors and stages
• Crackers, teething biscuits, and cookies
• Raisins & fruit snacks
• Juices: jars, cans, pouches and boxes
• Infant and children’s cereals
7. Socks are also urgently needed! New or clean gently-used socks only please. Any size welcome.
8. Blankets are also in high demand. Clean new or gently used blankets only please. You could start a neighborhood blanket drive and WestSide Food Bank will gladly take as many blankets as you can donate.
9. Another way to help is…Thousands of homeless people, unfortunately, lack adequate toiletries each day right here on the Westside of Los Angeles. To support their need for cleanliness and to help them feel like they are members of our community, WestSide Food Bank also collects a variety of toiletries including:
• travel size shampoo
• travel size conditioner
• travel size soap
• travel size bath & shower gel
• travel size toothpaste and toothbrush
• towels (Clean, gently used or new)
10. And lastly, you can support our WestSide Food Bank’s partners -- FoodJiva.com, a company that provides customized restaurant orders and shares its profits with Westside Food Bank, and Give2Network, supporting Westside Food Bank with every click – use Give2Network’s Yahoo search engine for your Internet searches. You can even download a handy toolbar to make your searching even easier!
Part of creating a more sustainable environment for everyone, is recognizing that every human being has the right to life and the sustenance that keeps that life going. So, open your heart and your pantry this holiday season and help fill the bellies of families and people in need.
For more information you can contact:
Westside Food Bank
1710 22nd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 828-6016 Fax:(310) 828-2646
Volunteer & EHW Program Coordinator:
(310) 828-6016 ext. 12 (310) 828-2646
And for information on the Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition