Big Sunday has charities calling all volunteers

Daily News
December 9, 2009

Big Sunday has charities calling all volunteers

By Susan Abram

Big Sunday, the two-day community effort that draws 50,000 volunteers to help with 300 projects across Southern California each May, has put the word out about nonprofit organizations in need during the holidays.

Here is a partial list of those services in the San Fernando Valley that could use donations or volunteers. To see other organizations in need, go to

Food Forward: The newly formed charity organizes volunteers to pick fruit from homeowners’ trees, then donates the produce to the MEND and SOVA food pantries. There is a tax deduction for every pound of fruit collected. Call 818-530-4125 or go to

SOVA: Operated by Jewish Family Service, the citywide network of food pantries serves more than 6,000 people of all faiths. The pantry needs nonperishable food, toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap and lotion), and new or gently used children’s books. The local pantry is located at 16439 Vanowen St. Van Nuys. Call 818-988-7382, Ext. 116 or e-mail Maxine Meyer at

Operation Gratitude: The Encino-based organization sends gift packages to thousands of servicemen and -women serving overseas. Its needs include commercially wrapped candy, cookie and snack packets, as well as baseball caps, T-shirts, socks, DVDs, prepaid phone cards, disposable cameras and travel-sized board games. The complete wish list is at The group also will be holding package-assembly events at The National Guard Armory, 17330 Victory Blvd., in Van Nuys. For times and dates, call 818-909-0039.

Friends and Helpers Foundation helps victims of domestic abuse. To donate money or gift certificates to help the victims, call 818-231-2907 or see

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church: The Studio City parish is organizing a holiday party for more than 150 needy children and their mothers. Children will receive a hat and mittens, while mothers will get a goodie bag. The group needs gifts, clothing, food, beverages, gift cards and volunteers. Call 818-343-8438.

MEND: Meet Each Need With Dignity provides education, training, opportunities and support to low-income people. The group needs new, unwrapped toys and other gifts ages 8-14, blankets and holiday turkeys. Call Maggie Torres at 818-897-2443, Ext. 7350, or see

The Mid-Valley YMCA: To provide gifts for underprivileged children, the group needs toys, games, sports equipment, craft kits, art supplies and gift cards. The organization also needs four new CD players for its preschool and volunteers for its

Dec. 19 holiday party. Call 818-989-3800.

The Exceptional Children’s Foundation Early Start Program: The group helps underprivileged families of young children with developmental disabilities. Its wish list includes nonperishable food, diapers sizes 4 and 5, baby wipes, and toys appropriate for children up to age 3. Call 323-466-1541 or 323-735-1424.

Children of the Night rescues children ages 11-17 from pornography and prostitution. The group needs winter jackets, electric toothbrushes, scrapbooks, facial kits, bath sets, pastel-colored shag throw rugs and pillows. Volunteers are also needed for holiday parties. Call 818-908-4474 or see

(Copyright 2009 The Daily News of Los Angeles)

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- -A.Z., Los Angeles