It's National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an event started at Villanova University 44 years ago and today sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. This event is held the week before Thanksgiving and used to draw public attention to the issue of poverty and encourage people to donate their time, attention, and resources to others.
In this spirit, here are 11 organizations working to combat hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles, and how you can get involved:
Volunteering can change your life, and these organizations have seen it firsthand. Though volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your time, only 24.1 percent of Los Angeles residents currently volunteer on an annual basis (Corporation For National and Community Service). As we continue to work toward a better Los Angeles together, we've compiled a list of volunteer opportunities with some of our LA2050 grantees so that you can find out how to get involved.
From taking action on climate change and educating the next generation to championing economic justice and preserving our history, there is bound to be a cause you're passionate about. Check out the opportunities below:
🌟 CASA of Los Angeles connects children in the dependency system with trained volunteer advocates, who are often some of the most consistent anchors for foster children. These Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers collaborate with others in the child's life to give them an opportunity to succeed.
🌟 Defy Ventures provides formerly incarcerated people a second chance through entrepreneurship training programs and business incubators. Volunteers assist with business coaching events, pitch competitions, and other community building workshops both inside and outside of prison.
🌟 LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is a museum that celebrates the history, culture, values, and traditions of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and all Latinos in Southern California. Volunteers have the opportunity to provide in-gallery support and facilitate hands-on workshops.
🌟 826LA supports students aged 6-18 in developing their creative and expository writing skills through tutoring and workshops. Their volunteer force participates in a variety of programs, such as after-school tutoring, teaching workshops in their writing lab, and assisting with their yearly Young Authors' Book Project.
🌟 The Natural History Museum of LA County houses the largest natural and cultural history collection in the western United States. Volunteers can apply to engage with visitors in their galleries, support their museum team behind-the-scenes, or help with their events and programs.
🌟 Harlem Lacrosse works with at-risk students to provide a full-day, year-round holistic support system in addition to lacrosse training. Volunteer opportunities range from event support to long-term tutoring, mentoring, and coaching of their students.
🌟 Venice Community Housing maintains affordable housing units throughout Venice, Mar Vista, and Del Rey and provides comprehensive programs including job training and family services. Volunteer opportunities range from teaching and gardening to supporting community service events and advocacy.
🌟 United Way LA's mission is to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families, students, veterans, and people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers can choose to help out with a variety of programs including events, long-term youth mentoring, and cooking and wellness.
🌟 Heal the Bay is dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy, and clean. Volunteers assist with monthly beach cleanups, creative projects at the office, outreach and community science at their aquarium, and more.
🌟 Miry's List connects new arrival refugee families with people who are interested in helping them get what they need in starting their new lives. They have many volunteer opportunities ranging from serving as a family advocate to translating and fundraising.
🌟 Homeboy Industries' mission is to provide hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. Volunteers can support efforts including tattoo removal, legal assistance, mental health services, and educational assistance.
🌟 TreePeople engages people in envisioning and creating a greener Los Angeles. Volunteers can assist in enhancing our urban environment through planting and caring for trees, removing invasive species, and more.
🌟 The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's is committed to changing the perception of Alzheimer's Disease through youth activism and awareness. Volunteers can support the organization through assisting with advocacy efforts or caregiving services.
If you'd like to explore opportunities with other organizations, visit our database of project ideas from past LA2050 grants challenges at archive.la2050.org and search by issue area, geographic location, and more.