Monthly on Melrose
Monthly on Melrose, is a series of workshops, collections, performances and parties to benefit our nonprofit partners. Most of these events are held at our offices on Melrose Avenue in L.A. We've had hundreds of volunteers at each of these events helping the Big Sunday staff and mixing it up with low-income children, kids with disabilities, vets and women and children from various shelters. It's been a ton of fun!
Monthly on Melrose is made possible by our friends and neighbors at Paramount Pictures. Many, many thanks to them and to the generous donors and volunteers who have made each event so great!
Upcoming Monthly on Melrose Event
Big Sunday's 2nd Annual MLK Day Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast
People all over America will be observing the MLK National Day of Service and Big Sunday will be hosting a HUGE Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast. We’ll be collecting clothes (for the whole family) and shoes of all kinds. (You can't believe how many requests we get!) We'll be sorting and packing everything on Monday, January 20, 2014, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. All ages are welcome. Drop off and sorting is at 6111 Melrose in L.A. beginning January 6. (And, of course, we'll have some great food for you, too!) By the way, items should be new or gently-used. If you're donating socks or underwear, new stuff only, please. (We know, we know – but we gotta say it.) Want to help? Contact email@example.com. Of course, everyone is welcome to join us for breakfast, too!
Past Monthly on Melrose Events
June: City Lites
A few months ago we did a Monthly Off Melrose and it was so much fun, we decided to do it again! Big Sunday joined our great friends at City Lites for their 10th Annual Inner-City Sports Festival & Health Fair. The special event at Jesse Owens Park included a 5K walk, a bike tour, a 5-mile skateboard ride, a 5-mile wheelchair ride, live entertainment and much more, including a few great Big Sunday Chill-Out Expresses!
April/May: Big Sunday Weekend 2013
We celebrated Monthly On Melrose in a big way leading up to and during Big Sunday Weekend! With a plethora of generous donations, our monthly collection of items for persons in need in our community was a huge success. From food, books and clothes to toiletries, sports/ household/entertainment goods and equipment, instruments and much, much more, we were able to do a tremendous amount of good in the community with the help and generosity of the Big Sunday community.
March: Hava Nagila Screening
A great crowd joined us on March 17, 2013, for a special Monthly off Melrose screening of Roberta Grossman's (Big Sunday vet) Hava Nagila. The event was held at the Royal Theatre in West LA and featured Harry Belafonte, Leonard Nimoy and Glen Campbell. The fun event – our first-ever Monthly off Melrose – included schmoozing and great eats from our friends at Canter's. To top things off, we also collected lots of canned fruit and veggies for our March food drive.
February: Valentine-Making, Bingo-Playing Community Dinner
Our 1st-ever Valentine-Making, Bingo-Playing Community Dinner was a great success! More than 200 guests, including our friends from Sunset Hall, Prototypes, the V.A., and the Amity Foundation, joined us to help make beautiful Valentine’s cards, paper mache flower bouquets and bags of chocolates for seniors, shut-ins, and those who otherwise might not receive gifts for Valentine’s Day. We also had a Bingo Bonanza and community dinner for participants to enjoy, as well! Folks came from L.A., Glendale, Long Beach, Agoura, Thousand Oaks, Monterey Park for the festivities, including our great pals at Disney.
January: Big Sunday Clothing Drive/National Day of Service
The Big Sunday Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast, which coincided with MLK Day and Inauguration Weekend attracted tons of people of all ages, backgrounds and political persuasions who worked together to collect, sort, and distribute carloads of men’s, women's and kid's clothes and shoes for MEND, Bienvenidos and Westside Homeless Outreach. In addition, many participants connected with others while enjoying a tasty breakfast. An estimated $7,000 in clothing and shoes were donated to the aforementioned nonprofit organizations due to the kind donations of our participants.
December: Holiday Party and Sing-a-long
Our 2nd annual Monthly on Melrose Holiday Party and Sing-a-long was so much fun. The great kids from AbilityFirst, (an organization that helps people with disabilities) and our friends from the Easter Seals homes joined countless Big Sunday volunteers and the Big Sunday Band (thanks to Carol, David, Rob, Mark and Clyde) for a community sing-a-along. We ate delicious treats, drank hot chocolate and sang our hearts out! We also collected tons of toys and gift cards for needy kids. Thanks to everyone who baked, brought toys, helped decorate and sang with us – it was a great way to end 2012!
Our first ever sale of hand-made carfts and art made by -- and sold to benefit various local nonprofits -- was a great success! Even with the afternoon downpour, so many nice people from the Big Sunday community came out to do a little holiday shopping. They bought beautiful work and raised $4,000 for the Chiapas Project, Downtown Women’s Center, Exceptional Children’s Foundation, HOLA , L.A. Goal, Piece by Piece, Spiral Foundation and Waiting for Work. Each nonprofit received 100% of the sales. And the great kids from Animo Pat Brown High School raised money for their yearbook selling delicious homemade chicken mole, hot chocolate and baked goods. Thanks to everyone who volunteered, noshed, shopped and had fun!
October: Spooky Sunday Halloween Party
Our second Spooky Sunday Halloween Party for underprivileged kids was a ton of fun! More than 300 participants enjoyed the scary Haunted House, “Trunk or Treating," shopping in the Costume Closet, the Pumpkin Patch, arts and crafts activities, face painting, delicious Halloween cupcakes, and new this year, a great Carnival Alley with magic tricks, bean-bag toss, jumping for doughnuts, and more. A huge thanks to Big Sunday veteran Tashanda Giles-Jones for organizing the event. And to Holly Nuckols and Troop 1305, Judy Haft, Nikki Cotton (and her family and friends), Amy Wynn Brown (and her family), Kathy Ohtomo and Siobhan Sull, and to Joel Lipton for taking professional photos of all our costumed visitors! And, of course, to the ever present, ever patient, ever schlepping Clifton Jones (and his and Tashanda’s great kids for always helping out)!
September: 9/11 Remembrance Food Drive and Community Breakfast
Big Sunday’s September 11th Food Drive and Community Breakfast was a huge success! Thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who donated, sorted and delivered 6,000 cans and boxes of much-needed non-perishable food to SOVA. And to the many volunteers who helped out with the community breakfast, too! A special thanks to Canter's Deli, Cornucopia Caterers, Disney, The Original Brooklyn Bagels and Western Bagels for their generous donations. It was a great day of community service and community building with some 500 volunteers from schools, social service agencies, corporations and individuals coming together to remember and commemorate those who lost their lives on 9/11 – thank you all for your hard work, generosity and community spirit! And thanks to everyone who wrote letters to soldiers and shared their stories about where they were on 9/11.
August: Backpacks and BBQ
Thanks to everyone who showed up for the special backpacks stuffing and collection last week. Thanks to lots of people, we were able to surpass our goal of filling 100 backpacks, and stuff and give away more than 300 (!) backpacks full of school supplies -- as well as loads of extra stuff -- for grateful kids at the Hillcrest Drive Elementary School. The evening was tons of fun, with large and fun crowds from Paramount, UCI's Alpha Phi Omega, and Phoenix House, among many others. (Who knew that many people were going to show up!? It was a good thing we had extra food from Dinah's Fried Chicken and Marie Callendar's!) Special thanks to our old pal Kendis Wilbourne, who filled us in on Hillcrest's many needs. And thanks, too, to the many people and companies who donated so many wonderful things, especially Paramount, Disney, The City of Culver City, Jill Thomsen, the Sobajian Family, Anne and Arno Reifenberg, UBM Canon, Ritta Yee, Karen Penn, Kathy Ohtomo and many others. (If we forgot your name, please forgive us, and let us know! We'll add it!)
July: Send a Kid to Camp Yard Sale!
The Big Sunday Yard Sale event raised more than $2500 to help support Hollywood Heart, which provides arts and traditional camping experiences for children, adolescents and teens impacted by HIV and AIDS. Thanks to everyone who cleaned out their closets and contributed their treasures, especially the McCullers for donating an entire home’s worth of furniture! And many, many thanks to Tony Molina (and NBC/Universal Transportation Department for use of the truck), plus Ben Pratt, Jack Arsenault, Jack Levinson and Bill Shpall for helping to move all that great furniture! And, of course, to the many, many volunteers who helped sort, set-up, sell and cleanup the yard sale, including, the great kids from Phoenix House, the kids from Alpha Phi Omega at UC Irvine, David and Linda Cook, Kate Schumacher, Martha Cohen, Sandra Hernandez, and Irma, Kendy and Jenny (for the homemade chocolate chip cookies - what a treat!). A special shout out to our own Yard Sale maven, Marian Lawrence, without whom we never could have managed any of it, and our new uber volunteer, Kelly Flores, for some serious yard sale strategizing, organizing and hard work. And, as always, thanks to Gavin Grossman for single-handedly running the lemonade stand. Plus, we were able to donate all the left over items to Goodwill (thanks Maxine) and to Heart of Compassion! It was a great event and a ton of fun.
June: Lit and Lattes!
Thanks to everyone who came to our poetry reading, publishing party and coffee house featuring students from Animo Pat Brown High School – it was truly a great success! The APB students read selected pieces from their literary journal, TRUTH, a powerful collection of poetry and stories about their lives growing up in South Los Angeles. Afterward they signed copies of their journal, published by PEN in the Classroom. We had about 100 guests, all of whom spent many hours talking about writing, eating great food and drinking delicious coffee. The next day, I heard from the APB student’s creative writing teacher who said: “ . . . my students are telling me how wonderful that afternoon was. Several of them have said it was one of the best days of their lives. It was just so beautiful, having all those writers, young and old, in one place, all talking about writing.” Thanks to Maria Dumas of "Lattes on Location," for providing the fantastic coffee bar; to Councilwoman Jan Perry's office for providing the bus that brought APB kids and their families to our office; to PEN In The Classroom for publishing their journal.
April: Pooches & Pastry
April’s Monthly on Melrose was a fantastic dog adoption event! We hosted six different rescue organizations; tons of volunteers; and, of course, dozens of dogs. At least four dogs were adopted – and a few more adoptions appeared to be in the works! We collected towels and blankets for the dogs and made dog toys for the puppies to take home, too. We also served doughnuts and bagels and coffee for all human friends. Thanks to everyone who volunteered or just stopped by to visit with our four-legged friends. And a special thanks to the really nice folks who gave a few of these really nice dogs a new home!
March: Big Sundae Fundraiser!
This month's M.O.M. event was Big Sundae, our first ever fundraiser, and it was a huge success! We had lots of people, lots of food and lots going on for the whole family. And as always, our friends, neighbors and Big Sunday volunteers mixed it up with many different people from various nonprofits, including teens from Phoenix House and our friends from Real Medicine. We had fantastic make-your-own-sundaes, delicious wine and cheese, music, arts & crafts, entertainers, a great silent and live auction and community service projects, too. Thanks to everyone in the Big Sunday community who came out to support this event - we couldn't have done it without you. And a special thanks to our generous event sponsors, Cornucopia Caterers, The Rosenthal Family Foundation, Toyota, William Morris Endeavor and Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary!
February: Movie Night!
Our sixth Monthly on Melrose – Movie Night and Dinner -- was a big success. We worked with Rabbit Hole, a great nonprofit dedicated to bringing a love and appreciation of movies to kids in low-income schools. We hosted about 50 volunteers and kids from Phoenix House to watch a hilarious – and, in honor of Valentine’s Day – romantic, old Harold Lloyd silent movie, The Freshman. And, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we also made and delivered beautiful Valentine’s cards for the seniors at the Kennedy Care Center on Fairfax Avenue and decorated and donated cookies for the kids at Covenant House. Afterward we all enjoyed pizza, salad, sweets and conversation together in big community dinner. It was a ton of fun!
January: Crafts for a Cause!
Thanks to all the wonderful folks who came out to knit, crochet and quilt for our fifth Monthly on Melrose event – it was a great success. We ended the day with 110 blankets, 15 scarves, 25 baby caps, 20 baby dresses, plus chemo caps and slippers – all of which will benefit many nonprofits that help premature babies, cancer patients and others. Special thanks to Rachel Andres and all the wonderful kids and adults who helped decorate potholders for the Jewish World Watch Solar Cooker Project. They’ll be sent to the refugees from Darfur to use when solar cooking their food. We had so much fun with this one, that we are sure to do it again!
December: Holiday Party Cheers!
More than 100 people came together for our first ever holiday party! The kids from AbilityFirst, (an organization that helps people with disabilities) joined with dozens of Big Sunday volunteers and many women and children from area shelters and the Big Sunday Band in a big community sing-a-along and neighborhood caroling. We had delicious hot chocolate and treats, too! Thanks to everyone who baked, helped with the beautiful decorations and the arts and crafts project. And a special shout out to Michael Skloff and the "Big Sunday Band" and to Carol Beren for leading us all in song! And finally, thanks to all of you who brought toys and gift cards, all of which were donated to the 109th Street Recreation Center for their holiday party, and the Ruby Mae Staine Foundation.
November: Veteran’s Choir and Dinner
More than 100 people were treated to a memorable night as the New Directions Choir, a group of formerly homeless U.S. veterans gave a rousing concert at the Big Sunday office. The audience included another 35 vets, as well as scores of Big Sunday volunteers, who then all joined together for a wonderful, fun, delicious community dinner. Afterward we played Bingo for an hour or so until all our guests just had to go home! It was a great evening. Thanks to everyone who came, donated, helped, sang, ate, and joined in the warm feelings. The veterans had a great time! Indeed, as one of them was leaving, he told us: "I am going to hold this night in my memory for a very long time." We could not have done it without you! Many thanks!
Check out this incredible video by photgrapher extraordinaire, Joel Lipton, on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSsDPg6le34
October: Spooky Saturday!
Our second Monthly on Melrose event “Spooky Saturday” was a HUGE SUCCESS! Some 120 volunteers hosted 250 underprivileged kids and their families from HomeSAFE and KEEN LA. We had face-painting, pumpkin decorating, goodie bag decorating, a fantastic costume closet and “trunk or treating,” plus a cast of creepy characters in our Haunted House! It’s hard to know who had more fun – our volunteers or the families we hosted. A big thank you to all those who helped make this day so great! And a special shout out to Kathy Ohtomo and Siobhan Sullivan for organizing the costume closet (with more than 200 donated costumes); Anna Ortega for getting more than 100 pumpkins for the kids to decorate; Gayle Baigelman for her face painting and tattooing expertise; Marta Kauffman for running the goodie bag decorating; Tashanda Giles-Jones and her Girl Scouts for creating a creepy haunted house; Kabrel Polak and Nikki Cotton for creating an amazingly fun trunk-or-treating experience; Joel Lipton for taking beautiful portraits of our guests; Debora Perez for feeding everyone; and the scouts for helping to decorate the office!
To see a fantastic video of Spooky Saturday, created by Sam Lundquist, click here and visit Big Sunday's Youtube Channel.
September: Back-to-School Supplies Drive
Our first Monthly on Melrose event, a Back-to-School collection for our good friends at the Immaculate Conception School in the Crenshaw area, was a big hit. We were able to donate crayons, paper, folders and markers for every child at this very low-income school, plus extra construction paper, glue, pens, and pencils, too! It was a lot of fun putting it all together. Special thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped us sort and pack all of these great school supplies, including terrific groups from Sony WPF TV Distribution Operations and students from the University of Southern California! The kids ar Immacualte Heart will thrilled to start the new school year with all their new supplies.