Where to Volunteer or Donate During the Holidays in DTLA
Los Angeles Downtown News
By Nicholas Slayton
December 12, 2017

In Downtown Los Angeles, as in many places, the winter holidays are not just a time to receive, but to give.

The opportunities are numerous and the demand is great, both for volunteers and financial and material donations.

Below, Los Angeles Downtown News runs down some of the places seeking help from local residents and workers.

Midnight Mission: The Skid Row center is looking for people to sort goods, assemble clothes and hygiene kits, and tutor clients. The mission serves meals throughout the day, and the staff is looking for volunteers to help prepare and hand out food year round. In the coming weeks, volunteers are needed to help sort the donations during the toy drive (unwrapped new toys can be donated through Dec. 23) and decorate the Santa’s Village at the mission on Dec. 24. Volunteers are also needed on Christmas Day to help out at Santa’s Village, when kids and families will pick up toys and get a hot meal. At 601 S. San Pedro St. or midnightmission.org.

To volunteer: Call (213) 624-9258 or email jweinart@midnightmission.org.

Los Angeles Mission: The Fifth Street facility is looking for people to help out throughout the year. A two-hour orientation is required in order to participate. Volunteers help prepare and serve food, provide food through the Adopt-a-Meal program, and organize and distribute hygiene items. The mission is also looking for all kinds of clothing as well as donations of toiletries. At 303 E. Fifth St. or losangelesmission.org.

To volunteer: Call (213) 629-1227, ext. 337.

Downtown Women’s Center: The longtime, stalwart service provider offers hot meals, showers and shelter for women on Skid Row. The Center is seeking year-round help from volunteers. Those interested can assist in the kitchen making food, assemble snack packs, put together hygiene kits and help organize the items donated to the center. If you want to support the DWC but time is short, the center is always seeking donations of utensils, new socks and underwear, sleeping bags and cleaning supplies. At 442 S. San Pedro St. or downtownwomenscenter.org.

To volunteer: Call (213) 680-0600.

Union Rescue Mission: The Skid Row shelter offers a variety of services for homeless individuals, and like other missions on the list, always needs people willing to donate their time. Volunteers have to complete an orientation process, but once that is finished there are numerous ways to help, depending on your skill set — some people serve food, while others tutor clients in resume writing and computer skills. Union Rescue Mission is also looking for people to help staff its gym. Additionally, the mission is seekings toys and game donations for kids through Dec. 11. At 545 S. San Pedro St. or urm.org.

To volunteer: Call (213) 347-6300 or email volunteer@urm.org.

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels: In the Meals on Wheels program, volunteers pack and deliver healthy meals to low-income seniors, the sick and the disabled. St. Vincent Meals on Wheels in Westlake serves the needy around Los Angeles, including Downtown and Skid Row. The nonprofit is looking for people to drive and deliver meals to recipients, most often during lunch time. At 2303 Miramar St. or stvincentmow.org.

To volunteer: Call (213) 484-7775.

Holiday TrainFest and Toy Drive: On Saturday, Dec. 16, Union Station is hosting a toy drive for the holidays. Fittingly, the second annual celebration is train-themed. Santa Claus will be on hand and there will be classic rail cars to check out. Admission is free, but organizers are asking people to bring either unwrapped toys or socks, which will be donated to Toys for Tots and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, respectively. The event runs from 4-8 p.m. on Track 14. At 800 N. Alameda St. or pacificsurfliner.com/trainfest.

City National Plaza: The property managers at the two Financial District towers are holding a toy and gift drive through Friday, Dec. 15, in collaboration with the organization Volunteers of America. There are boxes in the lobbies of City National Tower and the Paul Hastings Tower on Fifth Street. Donations should be new toys, art supplies and blankets. Half of the items will go to local shelters, and half will be sent to Florida and be given to people displaced from Puerto Rico by the destructive hurricanes earlier this year. At 515 S. Flower St. or citynationalplaza.com.

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