What is the heck is Big Sunday, anyhow?
First off, here’s our mission: Big Sunday connects people through helping. We provide a wide variety of opportunities and projects that bring people together to improve lives, build community and give people a sense of belonging.
We are a nonprofit organization based on the idea that absolutely everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. And that we get so much more done when we do it together. As such, each year we offer more than 2000 ways for people to pitch in, help out, and give back.
I hate reading. Do you have, day, a short video I can watch about Big Sunday?
So is Big Sunday a year-round organization? I thought you were just once a year.
We used to be! We started as a one-day-a-year event. But because there were so many people who needed help – plus so many people who wanted to help! – we now plan, produce and/or promote more than 2000 ways to help throughout the year.
I don’t get it. What are some examples of things I can do at Big Sunday?
Big Sunday participants paint, build, repair, plant, play, cook, sew, organize and entertain. They read to kids, deliver food; help seniors, the environment, veterans, animals, and anyone and anything else you can think of that may need a helping hand. They provide legal aid and dental clinics, eye exams and health screenings. They give away truckloads of new and gently-used things – clothes, books, food, furniture, sporting goods, musical instruments – that other people want and need. (Don’t worry – the food is not gently-used.) Big Sunday has projects where we do major capital improvements such as painting, carpentry and landscaping. Yet we also host people on field trips, meet emergency needs for people without a safety net, provide temporary paid work for those looking for jobs, arrange Days of Service for corporate groups, and host both weekly and monthly events at our headquarters in Hollywood that bring diverse people together to give back and have fun at the same time.
How is Big Sunday different from all the other volunteer organizations out there?
We’re happy to say that there are a lot of great organizations out there that find ways for people to work. And we’re even happier to say that we’ve been lucky to be able to work with tons of them. One thing about Big Sunday that’s slightly different is that while we’re very much about people helping others – who isn’t? – we’re equally concerned about bringing diverse people together in the name of helping. We think there’s great strength is connecting people of all ages and all backgrounds in the name of helping. By working together, we break down walls, build bridges, and find common ground. When that happens, there’s less sense of “us vs. them” – whoever “us” is, and whoever “they” are. As we always say, we’re all in this together.
What was that thing you guys said about “the-haves-and-the-have-nots”?
Oh, thanks for asking. We said that we don’t believe in that. We think the world is full of “haves-and-have-mores”; in other words, everyone has something to give. In fact, we’re happy to say that we often blur the line between giver and receiver. Some of our participants give, some receive, some do both at the same time, and some do both but at different times. Our participants include everyone from homeless people to movie stars and everyone is treated and valued the same.
This all sounds great. So where do I begin?
Big Sunday has all kinds of ways to get involved depending on your passion, time, location, age and, really, what you’re looking to get out of it. Here’s an intro to Big Sunday, which includes a listing our programs, which is a great place to begin. Still confused? E-mail us at email@example.com or call us at 323-549-9944 and we’ll steer you in the right direction.
I’m really interested in helping the homeless/vets/seniors/kids/schools/hungry people/the environment/victims of domestic violence/people in recovery/kids in juvenile detention/ailing people/starving artists/young athletes? Do you have some way to help?
Yes! And we know we left out a bunch of other deserving people and things, too. Plus, of course, we’re always looking for new people and new causes.
Here’s the deal: Sure, I’ll help. But the truth is I’m unemployed/depressed/recently divorced/new to town/at odds/angry/ frustrated/bored/lonely/confused. Is that a bad reason to help?
No way! In fact, it’s a great reason to help. There’s nothing that eases someone’s burden more than helping someone else lighten their load. Thanks so much for channeling your hard times into something positive for someone else.
Where are you guys, anyhow?
Our headquarters are on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. If you know LA, we’re right on the border between Hollywood and Hancock Park, just east of Highland. We have a big storefront where we host lots of events.
Are all of your events in Los Angeles?
No. While the majority of the projects we do are in the greater Los Angeles-Long Beach area, Big Sunday has done projects throughout California (from San Diego to San Francisco) as well as 10 other states, including Texas, Florida, and New York. We’ve also done Big Sunday events in Australia and Europe.
I live, like, so far from LA. How can I get involved with Big Sunday?
There are all kinds of ways. People all over the US have hosted things like lemonade stands, bake sales and yard sales to help The Big Sunday Emergency Fund and TGIW! (Thank God it’s Work!) programs. Big Sunday has hosted impactful and fun Corporate Days of Service throughout the US and in the UK. Our programs such as Youth in Action and Special2 (where people add to their special occasion such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or big birthday by giving back) are available wherever you live.
If you’d like to be involved in Big Sunday or are looking for a way to help where you live, your best bet is to start by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll find a way for you to get involved.
I really want to help, but I’m really strapped. Can I still help?
Absolutely! There is never a charge to participate in any Big Sunday event (except, of course, our annual fundraising gala). At some of our events (e.g., our Back to School Drive) we ask participants if they might want to bring something for the collection. Usually there are items available at all prices (e.g., for the Back to School Drive you can usually find 12 pencils for $1.) It’s great if you can, but if you can’t, you can’t. Also, we try to make sure that while some of our collections need only new things (food, Back to School supplies, socks and underwear)(no one wants your used socks and underwear, trust us), we also have collections where we collect gently-used items such as books, sporting goods, clothing, etc.
I really want to help, but I have no extra time. Can I still help?
Of course! We know that sometimes people have time and no money, and sometimes they have money but no time. At any given time we’re collecting something and a cash donation is always greatly appreciated. Or, you can shop for what we’re collecting (online or in a store) or perhaps you have something in your home or office that we could use. Almost all of our events can be sponsored, too. Sponsorships are available at all levels, starting at $250. If you’d like to see the current sponsorship opportunities list, email us at email@example.com.
Can I bring my family to one of your events?
It depends on the event. Many of our events are appropriate for all ages. Often, people of all ages, from toddlers to seniors come to join in. (Almost all of Big Sunday’s special Monthly on Melrose events – e.g., for MLK Day, Thanksgiving, etc. – are geared for all ages.) Sometimes we’ll work with another nonprofit that has age restrictions that we honor. For instance, Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together projects often involve things like ladders and power tools and they don’t want your children around them (and either do we – or our lawyers!). Some projects may involve heavy lifting or other physical exertion, which is not for everyone. And sometimes we’ll be working with nice and deserving folks who are suffering from mental illness or severe dementia; we’re very happy to be able to do this, but these are also not great projects for children. However, we do host countless family-friendly projects, suitable for both the youngest children and the oldest grandparents; if you’re looking for one near you and can’t find one, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have projects just for kids?
Of course! Kids are a huge part of Big Sunday. The Youth in Action portion of our website is full of ideas for civic-minded kids. Many kids host lemonade stands or bake sales to support The Big Sunday Emergency Fund, which helps grateful and deserving people who don’t have a safety net get over the hump. Special 2 (pronounced Special Squared) is our popular program that helps kids use special occasions like birthdays, bar mitzvahs and quinceaneras to give back. Many schools have hosted food drives for The End of the Month Club, our important monthly food collection to help people who don’t have enough to eat. Talented young people have led all kinds of projects during A Month of Big Sundays. We have an active Big Sunday Youth Board, and each month we single out one special young person to honor as our Kid of the Month. And, needless to say, countless kids have turned up at all kinds of other Big Sunday helping events.
Do you have projects for seniors?
Of course! Tons of seniors participate in Big Sunday projects, both with other seniors as well as people of all ages. Most Big Sunday projects are great for seniors. A couple of programs that are especially popular among seniors are our weekly MM@10 and TM@10 events. Every Monday and Thursday morning at 10 (hence the name) a group of very friendly and hardworking folks meet at our offices and do various projects to help different nonprofits in all kinds of ways. All ages are always welcome (and during school breaks lots of kids come, too), but these are great programs for retired people and people with flexible schedules. The We’re All in the Same Boat Project is our wildly popular harbor cruises; volunteers are needed to help make sure our special guests (vets, at-risk youth, homeless people, people who are struggling) have a good time.; if you’re friendly, we’ could sue your help! thePROBOlist is Big Sunday’s special list where people can offer the professional skills or other talents free to any nonprofit or school, whether on an ongoing or one-time basis.
Can I bring my school group/faith group/fraternity/club/team/alumni group to a Big Sunday event?
Absolutely. Please let us know as soon as possible if you want to do an activity as a group so we can be sure that there is enough space and enough for everyone to do. Sometimes, depending on the event, we do limit how large groups can be. Many of our events get large crowds, so you may be working alongside another group, which can be a big part of the fun. We often suggest to groups that they take on a lead role at an event (e.g., the food, set-up, decorating trick-or-treat bags); we find that groups like this because it gives them both a sense of pride and ownership, and also a “landing place” at a large event for your group’s members to hang out together. There is not a fee for groups to participate, however, we will ask you to consider helping by either contributing to whatever collection we’re doing (e.g., if you come to our Holiday Singalong we’d ask you to consider hosting a toy drive) or perhaps even helping to sponsor the event. Sponsorships are available for all events at all kinds of levels. Of course, we understand that every group has different means, and of course, we’re always happy to have you join us, and if you can’t contribute we understand. (But we gotta ask.)
Can I get my company involved in Big Sunday?
Sure! We work with all kinds of businesses, large and small. Many companies like to send groups of employees and/or their families to Big Sunday events. That’s great! We do ask businesses to consider sponsoring or donating to the event. There are all kinds of perks to sponsorship. The larger the sponsorship, the more employees companies are invited to bring.
Big Sunday is also available as an agency-for-hire for corporate giving events. Our days of service are created uniquely to meet your company’s needs and are meaningful, impactful and fun. They can be arranged for any number of people (minimum of 25 people, and there is no maximum), in any city (or multiple projects in one city or multiple cities simultaneously), any day of the week, any time of year. We also have ways for corporate groups of fewer than 25 people to participate in Big Sunday. For more information, please check out our Corporate Days of Service page or contact us at email@example.com.
What organizations do you help?
Feel free to visit Who We Help, on our website. It’s a long list (and it keeps growing!)
I know of a great new nonprofit. Can you help them?
Maybe! Hopefully! We’re always looking for new nonprofit partners to work with. Have them contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m going through a really tough time. Can Big Sunday help me?
First off, we’re very sorry to hear about your troubles. At Big Sunday we generally work with social service agencies to provide the help needed for their clients. The folks who work at Big Sunday are not social workers, therapists, or lawyers. However, we know a lot of nice people and are happy to try and direct you to the agency that can best help you with your problem.
Does Big Sunday have any religious affiliation?
No. Big Sunday has no religious affiliation or agenda. We started in 1999 as the Mitzvah Day of Temple Israel of Hollywood, but we became multi-faith and multi-cultural in 2000 and an independent 501c3 organization in 2008. We have no religious agenda and all of our events (including Christmas and Hanukkah events!) are open and most welcome to people of all faiths. Many people participate in Big Sunday events through their church, synagogue, mosque or other house of worship. We work with many nonprofits and schools that are faith-based (e.g., Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Service, Lutheran Social Services, and many, many more) but these events are also always open to everyone.
Does Big Sunday have any political affiliation?
No. Big Sunday has no political affiliation or agenda. We have worked with politicians and political offices of all bents. We never support any candidates or political initiatives. We welcome groups and individuals from all parts of the political spectrum. We also stay away from political causes – e.g. gun control, abortion – that are controversial; we figure that there are plenty of causes that we all agree on that we can fight for together! For a few years we were very happy and grateful to partner with the office of then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and to receive wonderful support from them (and we remain very grateful to the Mayor and his colleagues) but we were never a program of the mayor’s office.
Who pays for Big Sunday?
We are completely supported by private, corporate and foundation cash and in-kind donations.
How can I make a donation?
Hey, thanks for asking! You can donate here. And by the way, Big Sunday is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, so your donation is deductible to the full extent of the law. Check with your tax advisor for details. Of course, any donation large or small is always greatly appreciated.
Can I donate some stuff?
Sure! Big Sunday accepts all kinds of new and gently-used items in quantities large and small from both individuals and corporations. At any given time we’re collecting something, which is usually listed on our homepage. Big Sunday’s popular theBIGlist is a great way for people to find a grateful new home for something you no longer need. For instance, you can donate your old couch and we’ll post a picture of it on theBIGlist; it will be available to any local nonprofit or school who wants it. They’ll even pick it up from you and give you a tax receipt. For companies with large quantities of goods you no longer want or need (e.g., overstocks, samples, computers or furniture that are being replaced, food that needs to move before it expires) Big Sunday can receive and distribute it to our grateful nonprofit partners quickly and easily. For more info or to make a donation, contact email@example.com.
I work for a nonprofit and we have a great event coming up but could use some help. Can you get the word out to your community?
Sure! Big Sunday’s Really Big Community Calendar lists all kinds of events – more than 100 each month! – from tons of our nonprofit partners. Whether you need volunteers for an event or attendees for your annual gala, we’re happy to post it. And at the holidays, we have Big Sunday’s special annual Holiday List. (It’s posted each year on November 1.) Contact Ashannti@bigsunday.org to get your item listed.
I always loved when you had that huge weekend when everyone was out helping. Do you still do that?
Thanks for asking. For years, Big Sunday Weekend—an incredible three-day festival of helping each May—was our signature (and largest) event. We loved it, too. In 2016, Big Sunday Weekend expanded to A Month of Big Sundays. After 17 years, we’d simply grown too big to contain everything in one weekend. In May 2016, Big Sunday hosted and/or sponsored special events every single day of the month. This enabled us to take on even bigger projects, reach more people, make new alliances, and more easily fit in with everyone’s (and every organization’s) busy schedules. All kinds of events for every kind of passion and every type of talent were available to the public. We’ve got to say that it was pretty cool. (And a lot of fun, too.) We’ll be hosting A Month of Big Sundays 2017 in May, 2017. Events can take place wherever you like. Planning starts in January, 2017.
Do you guys still give out free Big Sunday t-shirts?
The white t-shirts are cool. But I really love the red ones. Can I get one of those?
Yes, but we ask for a $20 donation for those. If you want one, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you ever have any projects on boats?
Not only is this question not asked frequently, it is never asked. However, we love our We’re All in the Same Boat Project. We host a big group of underserved and deserving folks on a special cruise through San Pedro Harbor. Many of these nice people have never been on a boat before! We need volunteers to host, be friendly, hand out donuts (of course!), enjoy one another and enjoy the ride. We call it the We’re All in the Same Boat Project and everyone has exactly one job: To meet one new person. We host 6-8 of these each year. All ages welcome. Please check our schedule for our next cruise.