Inspired by Obama – this really should become a clothing line or food product – City Labs is organizing a giant one-day non-profit fair fest. A week from Saturday, organizations (that apparently are not teeming with unemployed folks) will be in one enormous, somewhat overwhelming room, giving out information on how you can spend your excess time helping them help others, and taking volunteers on the spot. Why search fruitlessly online for organizations when the information can be brought to you? It’ll be like an employment fair, except you’re guaranteed a position.
826LA will be there, as will be Food Forward, Los Angeles Guerilla Gardening, LA’s SPCA, WriteGirl, and more than 45 other nonprofits. In addition, there will be workshops held throughout the day (i.e., the “Lazy Person’s Guide to Going Green,” which applies equally, and without judgment, to us all). Consistent with the whole volunteering theme, there will be an area where you can sit down and pack some food boxes while you sip on your beer. Finally, community designers fresh from Unique LA will raffle away their one-of-a-kind wares, which is pretty nifty by itself.
The fair takes place on Saturday, January 23rd from 11am to 4pm at the California Market Center downtown. There is no entrance fee, but a $5 donation is requested (that includes a beer ticket, so just give up the Lincoln, people). Afterward, head out to our very own Classic Eats event, location of which will be announced as soon as the people have spoken within the allotted amount of time in which they are permitted to speak (i.e., voting for the next Classic Eats event ends Monday, so vote now!). Obama, you inspire us all.
For the eleventh straight year, Gobble Gobble Give will be packaging and delivering meals to those in need in and around The Echo on Thanksgiving Day. Yeah, The Echo, that snazzy little joint in Echo Park where a bunch of creepy old white guys recently stared just a little too hard at the three tiny Japanese girls known as Shonen Knife. (Besides that yuck factor, what a great show that was!!).
In a bit of twist to the traditional Thanksgiving slop-and-serve, Gobble Gobble Give takes a lesson from the economies of scale chapter of the Ford playbook: volunteers bring the parts (i.e., food, toiletry kits, and clothes), assemble everything in boxes, conveyer belt style, and deliver the packages to those in need around Echo Park and Downtown. Last year, volunteers from all stripes delivered these packages to over 1,500 people. So, if you’re orphaned and in need of friends and valuable bonding time (even if it’s with strangers) (this might be me, so you’re not going to be the only one); if you’re looking for a way for the family to do something together other than text in the same room while the turkey roasts; or if you have no ulterior motive and simply want to donate the time, hit up The Echo at 10am Thanksgiving Day and claim your spot. As of this posting, Gobble Gobble Give’s Facebook page lists 238 confirmed attendees, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that they’re adequately staffed. You know us Angelenos: we confirm before we commit. Sign up to deliver, and, whatever you end up doing, happy turkey/non-turkey day everyone!
Got some free time on your hands next weekend and feel like helping out at a great event? The Southern California chapter of Special Olympics is holding its 40th Annual Summer Games at Cal State Long Beach Saturday and Sunday, June 13th and 14th. There are multiple volunteer opportunities, some general, others sports-specific. Of course, monetary donations are accepted.
I have a younger brother with a disability who inspired me to go into a career in which I work with that population. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see him compete in Special Olympics very often, so I feel like I have a long distance connection by getting involved here in Los Angeles County. I’ll be there again this year with a group of other do-gooders (and our registered therapy dogs) to meet and greet athletes and their families. Our presence has been appreciated and enjoyed in the past. It really is a fun time!
The Summer Games will take place June 13th and 14th at Cal State Long Beach, 250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840. Click here for a list of events, which are free and open to the public. There is also no charge for parking. I’ll be on Sunday because there is no way I’m missing the LA Hot Dog Death March! I hope to see you in Long Beach and scarfing down some wieners in L.A. the day before!
Next Tuesday through Thursday (January 27th, 28th, & 29th), you can volunteer to help count the number of homeless people in the Greater Los Angeles area. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is an independent agency set up by local government in 1993 with the mission “to support, create and sustain solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County by providing leadership, advocacy, planning, and management of program funding.”
The Count takes place at night. All participants will receive training and no one will be out on the streets alone. More information on the organization and event is available here. Teams of five or more are encouraged to sign up and commit to helping out for at least one of the dates.
After sharing my experiences decorating floats with my daughter, I figured it would only make sense to actually show her. The entire family packed into the car for a quick trip to the float near us in the City of South Pasadena, the oldest self-built float in the parade.
Located behind the War Memorial on Fair Oaks, the group of long-time volunteers and South Pasadena High School students pitched in on their entry into the 2009 Tournament of Roses. Since the entire float is raised up through volunteer efforts, the committee has several ways for locals to donate money. Last night was their Crunch Time Dinner, a sort of last minute shove to get bills from this year paid off and ramp up for next year’s float. Another little way to raise money was to give us the opportunity to get our name on the float, so to speak. For $1, we signed a vial that will hold flowers that will be placed on the float.
Walking in, we came upon a group of women who were deveining luminaria. I spoke to one who has been volunteering for 15 years and another, Wendy Snow, who has volunteered for the last 27 years and is now on the float’s committeee. My daughter, fascinated by the project, quickly jumped in to help them and you can too. There is still a few more hours to decorate before the float gets towed to Orange Grove Blvd. If you’re in the area and want to experience the fun or just drop by to make a donation, they’d love to have you.