How to Help Those in Need This Holiday Season


The Burbank Temporary Aid Center provides holiday food baskets to local families and individuals. Canned and boxed food and diapers of all sizes are needed. Volunteers are not needed. Call (818) 846-2330.

El Centro de Amistad, 7024 Deering Ave., Canoga Park, an agency run under the auspices of the county Mental Health Department, provides food, and during the holidays toys for needy families. Volunteers are needed during Christmas week to distribute the items to area families. Call (818) 347-8565.

Loaves and Fishes, a homeless outreach program in Glendale, needs donations for food and new toys for children up to age 12. A donated pickup truck is is especially needed. 4322 San Fernando Road, Glendale. Call (818) 409-3080.


MEND (Meet Each Need With Dignity), a volunteer community group, needs canned hams and other canned goods, rice, cereals, blankets and new unwrapped toys for children for holiday baskets. Volunteers are needed to sort donations, wrap toys, pack food boxes and pick up donations. 13460 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima 91331. Call (818) 897-2443.

Salvation Army of the San Fernando Valley needs volunteer bell ringers, volunteers to run the Angel Tree gift-giving program as well as donations of canned goods. 14917 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 781-5739. The Burbank Salvation Army needs volunteers to box food donations for holiday baskets, deliver toys and baskets, and run an Angel Tree program. 300 E. Angeleno Ave., Burbank. Call (818) 845-7214.

Santa Comes to Agoura needs volunteers and donations to be delivered to needy families in December. Food is to be packed and organized for delivery by volunteers from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Do It Center in its Agoura Hills parking lot, Roadside Drive and Kanan Road. Checks, made out to Optimist Club/Santa, may be mailed to 6602 Maplegrove St., Agoura. All monies donated go directly to helping families. Call George Annino at (818) 991-1732.

Santa Rosa Community Center needs food baskets and a lot of baby clothes, formula and diapers. Volunteers are needed for light clerical work, and in the food pantry and clothes room. Volunteers light maintenance work is also needed. 511 Kalisher St., San Fernando. Call (818) 365-3195.

Tree of Life Ministries is accepting donations of nonperishable items, toys and monetary gifts. Drop off food and toys at 6642 Reseda Blvd. in Reseda, or write to P.O. Box 596, Reseda 91335. Call (818) 996-8389.

Volunteer Center of San Fernando Valley is accepting food, toys, books and gifts for needy families Monday to Dec. 8. Also coordinates volunteering opportunities throughout the Valley. Call (818) 908-5066.

The Valley Interfaith Council, based in Chatsworth, provides 17 food pantries for the needy: (818) 718-6460. The organization is a network of Valley temples and churches that serves hundreds of meals each year. Volunteers are needed to set and clean tables, prepare and serve food, and to do telephone and office work. Volunteer car drivers and truck drivers with valid licenses also are needed for Meals on Wheels. Call Norm at (818) 898-1134. Volunteers and donations of equipment, food and gifts are needed at three multipurpose centers: Bernardi Multipurpose Senior Center, 6514 Sylmar Ave. Van Nuys, call Nancy at (818) 781-1101; East Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, 5000 Colfax Ave., North Hollywood, call Lori at (818) 766-5165, and the Northeast Valley Multipurpose Center, 11300 Glenoaks Blvd., Pacoima, call Pat at (818) 834-6100. Volunteers and donations are needed for the council’s food pantry coalition for a Holiday Food Drive at the Promenade Mall in Woodland Hills from Wednesday to Dec. 14. Call Parker at (818) 718-6460, Ext. 3012. The Adopt-a-Child-Abuse-Caseworker Program needs volunteer drivers and gift donations. Call Brenda at (818) 365-3154.


Through the Firefighters’ “Spark of Love” Toy Drive, the Los Angeles Fire Department will again be supporting Toys for the Needy. Drums will be at all fire stations starting Sunday for collections of unwrapped toys for children from infants to teenagers. Donations continue to Dec. 23. Call (818) 786-5170.

Toys for Tots, sponsored by the U.S. Marines Reserve Center in Encino, is collecting toys at a number of Valley sites: any of the offices for Bolt Temp Services, All State Insurance, Norwest Financial Corp., San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors and Jiffy Lube, as well as the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn and the Hollywood Holiday Inn. Call (818) 705-0012 or (818) 705-0027.

The Department of Children and Family Services for Los Angeles County is collecting new, unwrapped toys. In Lancaster, call (805) 723-4314 or drop them off at 335 E. Ave. K, No. 6, Lancaster. Food is also needed. In Santa Clarita, call (805) 288-2738. Gifts for teenagers and gift certificates are needed.

San Fernando Valley Child Guidance Clinic is accepting donations of holiday gifts for children of all ages by Dec. 12, and monetary donations. 9650 Zelzah Ave., Northridge. Call Jo Devine at (818) 993-9311.

San Fernando Valley Hispanic Foster Parent Assn. is accepting monetary donations and new, unwrapped toys for children ages 5 to 17. 1027 Maple St., Burbank 91505. Call (818) 955-8531.

Walden Family Services is accepting monetary donations and new, unwrapped toys for foster children of all ages. Toys may be dropped off at American Pacific State Bank branches or at Walden Family Services from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, 11150 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 204, Mission Hills 91345. Call (818) 365-3665.

Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. is conducting a toy drive Dec 7 between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of Noah’s Bagels on Ventura Boulevard, just west of Van Nuys Boulevard. Noah’s Bagels will give free coffee and a bagel to anyone donating an unwrapped toy for a child of any age. Call Jackie Campbell at (818) 788-7680.

Countryside Preparatory School, 8756 Canby Ave. Northridge, is collecting toys until Dec. 16 for its sister school, the 700-student Braddock Drive School in Mar Vista. Call (818) 885-5872.

Donations of toys and nonperishable food items for several local charities are being collected at all 12 TransWorld Bank sites in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas until Dec. 18. A collection box will be placed at each bank branch for new, unwrapped toys for children 16 and younger. Call (818) 783-7501.


Boys & Girls Club of Burbank needs volunteer coaches for sports teams and tutors to help children with homework. Money is needed to keep the club running. Sports equipment, tables, chairs, office supplies and game room equipment are also needed. The clubhouse is at 2244 N. Buena Vista St., Burbank. Send donations to P.O. Box 1476, Burbank 91507. Call (818) 842-9333.

Catholic Big Brothers needs volunteers older than 18 to serve as big brothers to children 7 to 14. 3300 W. Temple St., Los Angeles 90026. Call (213) 251-9800.

Jewish Big Brothers of Los Angeles offers Jewish children from 6 to 18 a big brother to take them to places such as the zoo or the movies. All of the children come from single-parent homes. Volunteers must be at least 18 and are asked to give four to six hours a week for a year. The screening process is extensive. Call (800) 453-KIDS. Orientation meetings are ongoing.


L.A. Family Housing Corp., a homeless support organization that runs the Valley Shelter, needs volunteers to participate in the Valley Shelter’s Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays project. Volunteers will provide gifts and/or holiday food baskets. 7843 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Call Carrie Bronson, resource development manager, at (818) 982-4091. Continental Coin and Jewelry Co., 5627 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys, is collecting new, unwrapped gifts and toys for children 18 and younger. Through Dec. 22. Call (818) 781-4232.

Loaves and Fishes in Van Nuys is a food pantry and clothing distribution center that operates under the umbrella of Catholic Charities. The organization serves people on limited incomes and the homeless of all denominations. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Volunteers are needed to interview applicants, fill food orders, sort and organize the pantry and clothing, and help with office work. Donations of food, money and grocery scrip are welcome at any time, but especially during the holidays. Call Barbara Ausburn, volunteer director, at (818) 997-0943.

Women’s Care Cottage, which offers shelter and help to homeless women and their children, needs nonperishable food and “street food” that does not need to be cooked or opened with a can opener. Donations of new clothes and toys are also needed. Volunteers are needed one day a week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the resource center at 6040 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood. Call (818) 753-4580.


The Dedicated Older Volunteers in Educational Services (DOVES), a program connected with the Los Angeles Unified School District, needs volunteer tutors in all the academic subjects. Call the school volunteer program of LAUSD at (213) 625-6900.

Jewish Elder-Care Corps provides care and companionship to senior citizens in nursing homes. Volunteers are asked to visit on a regular basis. Activities include reading, writing, playing games and conversing with patients. Project Caring matches groups of two or more volunteers to provide programs for residents of skilled nursing facilities on a monthly basis. Days are flexible. Call (818) 318-3996.

Organization for the Needs of the Elderly (O.N.E.) is accepting monetary donations and volunteers to visit homebound, frail senior citizens and help in preschool and day care for impaired seniors. Volunteers are needed for the Farmers Market on Sundays. 17400 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys 91406. Call (818) 705-2345.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Programs in Panorama City and Burbank place adults 55 and older as volunteers in various community and nonprofit agencies, schools and hospitals, homeless advocacy and libraries. Call (818) 908-5070 for the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys or (818) 238-5370 in Burbank.

The Valley Storefront, Jewish Family Services, in North Hollywood needs volunteers to help with entertainment, teaching classes and in sales. An entertainment coordinator is needed to book acts to perform twice a month. Volunteer instructors teach classes in any area of interest. Volunteers in the boutique help mark, arrange and sell merchandise. Call (818) 984-1380.

Wise Senior Services Los Angeles County Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Program needs volunteer advocates to investigate complaints made by or on behalf of nursing home and board and care residents. Volunteers actively work to protect the residents’ rights. To become a state certified ombudsman requires 36 hours of training. Excellent communication skills, diplomacy and objectivity are required. Call Christine O’Rourke at (800) 334-9473.

Senior citizen centers throughout the county use volunteers during the holidays to get involved with special programs and bring warmth and holiday cheer to the elderly. Other programs are offered during the year. The locations are:

* Agoura Hills Senior Center, (818) 597-7361.

* Bernardi Multipurpose Senior Center, Van Nuys, (818) 781-1101.

* Canoga Park Senior Center, (818) 340-2633 or (818) 887-0970.

* East Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, North Hollywood, (818) 766-5165.

* Glendale Senior Center, (818) 548-3775.

* Jewish Elder-Care Corps, Valleywide, (818) 905-2125.

* Joslyn Adult Center, Burbank, (818) 238-5370.

* Santa Clarita Senior Center, Newhall, (805) 259-9444.

* Robert M. Wilkinson Center, Northridge, (818) 756-7741.


Burbank Center for the Retarded is accepting monetary donations and boutique items for a silent auction on Wednesday. 230 E. Amherst Drive., Burbank 91504. Call (818) 843-4907.

Heads Up, Therapy on Horseback gives disabled people an opportunity to continue physical therapy in a nonclinical environment. The Saugus range has about 30 people in its program, with three volunteers required per horse and rider. Equestrian experience is not required. Volunteers are also needed for fund-raising activities. Call (805) 297-7433.

Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship needs donations of saddles and tack as well as volunteers to help disabled riders care for horses. 21126 Chatsworth St., Chatsworth 91311. Call (818) 700-2971.

Therapeutic Living Centers for the Blind is accepting items including orthopedic devices, hearing aids, household items, exercise equipment, rocking chairs and televisions. 7955 Lindley Ave., Reseda 91335. Call (818) 708-1740.


The Guadalupe Center in Canoga Park, which has a food pantry and other services, needs volunteers at least 18 years old to play Santa’s helpers at a Dec. 23 Christmas party. 21600 Hart St. Call (818) 340-2050.

The Pacoima Community Youth Culture Center offers a variety of counseling, tutorial and other educational programs for low-income people. Volunteers are needed to prepare, cook, clean and serve holiday dinners and baskets. Call (818) 896-8878.


AIDS Project Los Angeles, a countywide agency, is looking for buddies to offer comfort and companionship during the holidays and assist with small errands and other household chores. Volunteers also are needed for the hotline, clerical duties and fund-raising campaigns. Training is provided, and buddies can be matched by location. Sign-language interpreters and bilingual volunteers are especially needed. Volunteers are also needed for a gift-wrap service desk at the Beverly Center until Dec. 24. Call (213) 993-1383.

The American Cancer Society needs volunteers for its Sherman Oaks Discovery Shop, 4454 Van Nuys Blvd. No special skills are required. The shop also needs donations of well-maintained used clothing, jewelry, household items, furniture, antiques, estate items, collectibles and other items that can be sold. The store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call (818) 905-9141.

Bienestar Latino AIDS Project is accepting donations of food, clothing and money for victims of AIDS and homelessness. 6850 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 110, Van Nuys 91405. Call (818) 908-3820 or (213) 660-9680.

Catalyst Foundation for AIDS Awareness and Care provides free medical care and support services to people with AIDS. The foundation is accepting monetary donations and needs volunteers for a buddy program, hospital visits, a speaker’s bureau and other tasks. For its gift basket program the foundation also needs donations of personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorants and cologne. 44758 Elm Ave., Lancaster 93534. Call Laurel at (805) 948-8559.

Celiac Disease Foundation, which provides a variety of services to celiacs and their families, needs volunteer office help to send out information packets. Celiac disease is an inherited disorder. Those who suffer from it cannot eat grain. Children are severely affected. 13251 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1, Studio City 91604. Call (818) 990-2354.

National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine operates Aunt Fannie’s Attic thrift store and is seeking donations of men’s, children’s and women’s clean clothing as well as shoes, and volunteers are needed to sort and organize donations. 7146 Reseda Blvd., Reseda. Call (818) 705-9429.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society is seeking monetary donations and volunteer help with administration, special events and client services programs. The Southern California chapter is at 230 N. Maryland Ave., Suite 303, Glendale 91206. Call (818) 247-1175.

Northridge Hospital Foundation/Earthquake Relief is accepting monetary donations to help cover damage to the medical center sustained in the Northridge earthquake (note “earthquake relief” on check). 18300 Roscoe Blvd., Northridge 91328. Call (818) 885-5341.

Olive View-UCLA Medical Center Foundation is accepting monetary donations, food, new or used infant clothing, disposable diapers and other infant supplies for its preventive health education programs at the Parent Center at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, 13330 Vaughn St., Pacoima.. Call (818) 834-1485.

Valley HIV/AIDS Center needs volunteers to work in December at its gift-wrapping booth at Thrifty Drug Store, 10120 Mason St., Chatsworth. Also accepting donations. 6850 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 110, Van Nuys 91405. Call Angela or Elizabeth at (818) 908-3840.

Visually Handicapped Adults of the Valley, a school for blind or visually impaired people in the San Fernando Valley, needs people to help in the kitchen, distribute lunches, guide clients and do other general work. The group, founded about 20 years ago, is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Donations are needed. 15520 Sherman Way, Van Nuys. Call (818) 988-2740.


El Proyecto del Barrio Inc. provides a variety of services including primary health care, employment and training as well as outpatient drug treatment. It is accepting monetary donations to continue senior outreach services and a food basket giveaway for clients and neighbors. 8902 Woodman Ave., Arleta 91331. Call (818) 830-7133.

Habitat for Humanity of San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys is a nonprofit housing group that builds housing for the working poor with volunteer help and donated materials. Call Rick Pimental-Habib, director of volunteer services at (818) 765-2073.

Los Angeles Community Action Network (L.A. CAN) is a volunteer membership organization that began in 1983 and assists other organizations with fund-raising events. Members receive a bimonthly newsletter with about 80 to 100 listings for volunteer help. Call (310) 215-1137.

NA’AMAT USA, San Fernando Valley Council, which supports human rights for Jews in distress, Jewish education, women’s rights and child welfare, is accepting monetary donations and collecting stuffed animals to give to the county’s Department of Children and Family Services for 72,000 abused and neglected children in the department’s care. Contact Miriam Hearn, western area director, at (818) 981-1298. 16161 Ventura Blvd., No. 101, Encino 91436.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving needs holiday volunteers for special holiday events. Throughout the year, volunteers help at health fairs to pass out literature, speak at local schools and other organizations about the program, organize its annual fund-raiser and assist with victims’ services. Also, teenagers are always needed to become involved at high schools. Call (818) 509-2922.


Lutheran Social Services, an emergency center in Van Nuys since 1946, uses about 300 volunteers to help thousands of needy people and provide job assistance. Volunteers are especially needed around the holidays for interviewing, case management, staffing the job desk, and food distribution. Bilingual volunteers are in demand. Call (818) 901-9480.


Haven Hills offers battered women and their children shelter during a domestic emergency. Volunteers are needed to staff referral telephones, donate clothing and furniture and to help with office duties. Forty hours of training are given to people who work on the hotline. For the holidays, the shelter needs new items for holiday gifts for children and their mothers, especially for adolescent boys. Volunteers are also needed for a speaker’s bureau and a teen dating violence-prevention program. Call (818) 887-7481.


Hospitals use volunteers in many ways. A variety of hours and days are available. Most positions require some training.

* Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center, Lancaster. (805) 949-5105.

* Columbia West Hills Medical Center. (818) 712-4169.

* Encino Hospital. (818) 995-5036.

* Encino/Tarzana Regional Medical Center. (818) 708-5134.

* Glendale Adventist Medical Center. (818) 409-8057.

* Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center. (818) 502-2373.

* Granada Hills Community Hospital. (818) 360-1021.

* Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Valencia. (805) 253-8051.

* Kaiser Permanente, Panorama City. (818) 375-2858.

* Kaiser Permanente, Woodland Hills. (818) 719-4061.

* Medical Center of North Hollywood. (818) 980-9200.

* Northridge Hospital Medical Center. (818) 885-8500.

* Northridge Hospital Medical Center Sherman Way Campus, Van Nuys. (818) 908-8669.

* Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Burbank. (818) 843-5111, Ext. 7161.

* Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills. (818) 898-4613.

* Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Van Nuys. (818) 902 5704.