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Be a Holiday Helper

union station volunteers Be a Holiday Helper Volunteer pasadena Union Station Thanksgiving in Central Park foothill unity center Foothill Family Service five acres Elizabeth House Door of Hope donating food adopt a family  photo

Volunteers at last year's Thanksgiving in the Park, sponsored by Union Station

Got the impulse to spread holiday cheer beyond your immediate family? There are many ways to help others in the San Gabriel Valley at Thanksgiving, the winter holidays and all year round. You can give your time or donate food, gifts or green stuff (and we don’t mean mistletoe) to benefit folks in need.

We’ve listed a few drop-off sites for canned goods and toys; you’ll see zillions more around town at schools, banks, stores and places of worship. We also have a sample shopping list of typical food donations if you are stymied, or if you don’t think others will like Grandma’s schmaltz-and-brussels-sprout casserole.

A great way to mobilize is to get your extended family, office, classroom, book club or golf foursome to sponsor a family this holiday season (see below for specifics), providing them with gifts, necessities and even a home-cooked meal; the Door of Hope has a wonderful program that connects families in transition from homelessness with others over a shared dinner.

fork in road 300x210 Be a Holiday Helper Volunteer pasadena Union Station Thanksgiving in Central Park foothill unity center Foothill Family Service five acres Elizabeth House Door of Hope donating food adopt a family  photo

The Fork in the Road

DROP OFF FOOD

Put the Fork in Hunger
Saturday – Sunday, Nov. 21 – 22, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
West Pasadena
Billed as Pasadena’s largest food drive ever, this coming-up event was inspired by the fabulous new guerrilla-art project Fork in the Road. Volunteers will be on hand at the fork sculpture at Pasadena and St. John avenues just south of Bellefontaine; all you have to do is drive west on Bellefontaine from Fair Oaks, slow down and hand your nonperishable food donations out the window, and the organizers will deliver the goods to Union Station. There’s a dire need for more volunteers; e-mail organizer Phil Coombes at 626.644.3227 or Phil@AgentPhil.com.

Five Acres Food Drive
Now – Nov. 24
Webster’s Fine Stationers, 2450 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, 626.797.1163
Altadena’s stationer is collecting Thanksgving food for Five Acres, which serves foster children in residence. You can bring food by any time during normal business hours. Needs include stuffing, rice, tortillas, condensed milk, canned fruit, gravy, salad dressing, pasta, rice, olives, pudding mix, nuts, cranberries, potato mix, vegetables, baking chocolate and, of course, turkeys and hams. You may also drop off donations at the Five Acres office, 760 W. Mountain View St., Altadena, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

BAKE AND TAKE

Door of Hope
669 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena
626.304.9103, doorofhope.us
You can bring and/or cook a meal, then sit down and share it with one of the families living in this year-long residential program, which transitions them into permanent housing. Dinnertime is 6:30 p.m. most nights of the week; arrange in advance by calling Kimberly Williams at the number above or e-mailing Kimberly@doorofhope.us

Union Station
Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26
Christmas Day, Dec. 25
Central Park, Fair Oaks at Del Mar, Pasadena
Drop off fully cooked turkeys, hams, side dishes and desserts (safely prepared and in disposable aluminum containers) at Central Park from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings for Union Station. They serve all comers more than 5,000 meals in Central Park in what is billed as the largest Thanksgiving potluck in the nation. Lists of needs and instructions are at unionstationhs.org.

GIVE TIME

Foothill Unity Center
Locations in Pasadena and Monrovia
Now – Nov. 24
The L.A. County Arboretum serves as a rendezvous spot for local families who can’t afford a Thanksgiving dinner to come pick up food. Foothill Unity Center needs volunteers ASAP to sort food donations, pack dinner boxes, set up, clean up  and help distribute the food to families. If you can help, call Raina Martinez at 626.358.3486, or go to foothillunitycenter.org.

Union Station
Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26
Christmas Day, Dec. 25
Central Park, Fair Oaks at Del Mar, Pasadena
Volunteer to set up, serve or clean up at Union Station’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners in Central Park on the day of, or the days immediately before or after the holidays. They especially need help in the afternoon clean-up phase!  To find out more or sign up, go to unionstationhs.org or call 626.240.4550, ext. 103.

megan foker adopt family 300x174 Be a Holiday Helper Volunteer pasadena Union Station Thanksgiving in Central Park foothill unity center Foothill Family Service five acres Elizabeth House Door of Hope donating food adopt a family  photo

Last year's Adopt-a-Family chair, Megan Foker, wrapping gifts

SPONSOR A FAMILY

Foothill Family Service
2500 E. Foothill Blvd., Ste. 300, East Pasadena
foothillfamily.org
This thriving nonprofit runs a holiday Adopt-a-Family program helping low-income, high-need families from the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. Sign up by November 20 to help a family with necessities and goodies for the holidays.  Scout troops, book groups, offices and individuals can all participate; gifts can be dropped off at the Pasadena offices in time for the holidays, or if you’d rather donate money, Susan Dutra will do the shopping for you. You can reach Susan at 626.564.1613, ext. 135

Door of Hope
669 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena
626.304.9103, doorofhope.us
Door of Hope maintains a Christmas wish list for each of the 25 families in residence, who are saving to move from this transitional housing into homes of their own. Each family fills out a wish list with names, ages and sizes, and organizes their wishes into $5-10, $10-20 and $20-$100 categories; you can choose what fits your budget or tugs your heartstrings.

FULFILL HOLIDAY WISH LISTS

Elizabeth House
760 Santa Barbara St., Pasadena
626.577.4434, elizabethhouse.net
This shelter for pregnant homeless women collects gifts at the holidays. The parents are given children’s’ gifts to wrap and give; the children get to wrap and give gifts to their parents, too. It also sponsors an alumni holiday party for former residents  who mentor current clients; an organization or a family can set up a gift tree for this event. To help, contact Debbie Unruh at 626.577.5434, ext. 103.

Union Station
825 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena
626.240.4550, unionstationhs.org
Union Station always posts wish lists for its homeless clients during the holidays, and you can drop off unwrapped gifts at its main office on Orange Grove.




3 Responses for “Be a Holiday Helper”

  1. Good heads-up article.
    I know Union St & Elizabeth House do a great job.

  2. Perry Peck says:

    Very cool to walk the walk and talk the talk at the table. Art that is good for Mother Earth and our soul. Thanks for the post.

  3. Kitchenelly says:

    Thanks for this info — I was wondering just this a.m. where at the “fork” to drop the goods.

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