Big Sunday: Grassroots community building movement

Los Angeles Sentinel
April 23-April 29, 2009

Big Sunday

 Grassroots community building movement continues to cut across every neighborhood, race, religion, ethnic, socio-economic barrier with over 350 projects in communities all over southern California.

Everyone helps and everyone win on big Sunday.

Next weekend, May 2nd and 3rd, marks the llth anniversary of Big Sunday, the largest region-wide community service volunteer weekend in America, with Big Sunday expecting over 50,000 volunteers again this year. Started more than a decade ago by David Levinson, a Los Angeles-based full-time writer with just 300 volunteers, David and his team now lead the largest community building and community service event in the United States. Big Sunday’s continues to strive to be the largest all-volunteer day in America, not in response to a man-made or natural disaster, but simply because Big Sunday wants to build community, all across the region.

At its core, Big Sunday is more ftan a day of volunteering – it’s also about community building. Big Sunday uniquely cuts across every social barrier, bringing together thousands of people of all races, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds from all over Southern California, proving that real issues, which effect people’s day to day lives, actually do cut across racial, religious, political and ethnic boundaries, and do help to build common ground. There aie volunteer opportunities for every passion, every talent, and every age, in all parts of Southern California. People volunteer individually, with their friends, families, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, businesses, organizations or other groups. Projects are scheduled throughout the weekend to work with any schedule. Projects can last anywhere from one hour to two days. Big Sunday’s motto is: Everybody Helps, and Everybody Wins – anyone, regardless of how rich or poor, how old or young, your race, religion, gender or ethnicity, can help someone else.

Founded by David originally as a volunteer program of Temple Israel of Hollywood, Big Sunday is entirely non-denominational and apolitical, and despite its massive size and scope, it is a non-profit organization still runs predominantly by volunteers. Everything is free on Big Sunday, and volunteers of every stripe are asked only to share their time and talent Big Sunday projects, including necessary supplies and services, are funded by private and corporate cash grants and in-kind donations.

On Big Sunday’s past, people have painted, landscaped and rehabilitated needy schools, cooked and served dinner at homeless shelters, provided a “day-of-beauty” for homeless women at a women’s shelter, landscaped youth centers., thrown parties for blind and disabled children, sang to lonely seniors, cleaned up trash along aie Los Angeles River, bathed and readied dogs for adoption, knitted clothing for premature babies, decorated cookies for distribution to abused children, and did home repairs at AIDS hospices, among a host of other things all over Southern California. Volunteers also took part in blood drives and free outdoor concerts at different times. People also collected, sorted and gave away canned food, new and used clothes, books, furniture, as well as assembling more than 2000 gift boxes to give to homeless families, babies with AIDS, needy students, battered women, and U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. Although Big Sunday is held over one weekend, many of Big Sunday’s volunteers stay actively involved throughout the year with the organizations they’ve helped. In addition, Big Sunday facilitates scores of Holiday Projects between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. To volunteer, or to help in other ways, please visit, or call Big Sunday at (323) 549-9944.

(Copyright Los Angeles Sentinel Apr 23-Apr 29, 2009)

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[Thanksgiving Stuffing Event] “Our Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without you guys. It warms my heart and replenishes my faith to witness such kindness in action.”

- -A.Z., Los Angeles