The Giving Spirit provides both direct tangible aid and educates communities on how workable solutions informed by direct community engagement, powerful data, and our common humanity can alleviate and ultimately end homelessness leading the “first mile” of service to our unhoused. The first mile of care provides immediate, tangible aid to the unhoused by procuring, assembling, and directly serving them diverse and robust “survival kits” containing dozens of essential life-sustaining items.
The first mile of learning informs, engages, and educates individuals, businesses and communities through curated platforms on the human face of homelessness, myths and realities surrounding the unhoused. With nearly 25 years of service, The Giving Spirit has touched over 90,000 unhoused lives and educated thousands in the broader Los Angeles community by putting faces and stories to unsheltered community members.
“There is so much in this bag,” a recipient at the Downtown Women’s Center told our volunteers. “Everything on my list that I prayed for is in here! How did you know exactly what we need?”
Volunteer. Give. Learn.
The Giving Spirit – Why We Do It
Thanks to your kind support, our outreach ability to the homeless of Los Angeles continues to grow. We invite you to explore our website, to learn about what we do and the lives we touch, to educate yourself about homelessness, and to get involved – whether by donation or by hands-on participation or both. Without your desire to help those less fortunate than yourself, many lives – from the homeless to the volunteers – would not have been touched by this act of grace.
From our founder, Tom Bagamane
For those who have been with us since our inception in 1999, and for all our new-found friends and family who have become involved with our work, we are privileged to continue The Giving Spirit’s efforts with great hope and promise.
As we continue in our twenty-second year of providing aid to Los Angeles’ homeless community, we find new challenges to our mission. More people need our help due to unfortunate circumstances caused by the pandemic and the still recovering economy. Before the pandemic, I spent a day with a friend personally reaching out to the homeless, spending time with them, listening to their stories and hearing about their needs and the challenges they face as they struggle to live their life on the street.
To our dismay, we continued to find more folks that were just recently displaced – with nowhere to turn. We also found more women and children than in years past. Many are eager to return to the workforce but can’t find work. Others simply have been turned away by an overloaded “system” woefully inadequate to handle those society tends to forget when things get tough. The street is their home, and for many, this is where they will spend the rest of their lives. The effects of the pandemic have only made their situations worse with no end in sight.
The street is a far cry from where most of us live our lives, pre-pandemic or currently. For that we are all truly blessed. Thus, the reason we created The Giving Spirit.
Our format is simple. Your contributions allow us to purchase goods in bulk from discount stores, collect donated items from generous distributors and manufacturers, assemble and fill the bags with the help of volunteers and then distribute the bags directly to our homeless friends throughout this sprawling city. The pandemic has not stopped our direct aid. Since March 2020 when the pandemic began, The Giving Spirit has safely served over 25,000 homeless families and individuals despite the challenges while protecting our staff and volunteers through safety protocols and practices, including distributing the kits through partner agencies rather than directly on the streets.
This is what makes our mission so special. We bring the aid to the homeless, preventing them from traveling long distances with all their worldly goods (or leaving them unguarded). Our growing group of volunteers has, thanks to the amazing generosity of you and your peers and the help of our partner agencies, served more than 80,000 souls in Greater LA. You have helped us provide food, blankets, clothing, toiletries, water – and hope – at the time and place when they feel the most alone.
Routinely our volunteers are told, “Before you came, I had no idea where my next meal was coming from,” or “Thanks for remembering us. Do you know what it’s like to be forgotten?” I don’t, and I hope you and I and those we love never will…
Whether you choose to participate in our work or not, we thank you for your large hearts, your acute social conscience and your endearing friendship and loyalty.
Godspeed and peace to you and your families.
Founder and Chairman
The Giving Spirit
Your donation supports our homeless outreach effort and our educational programs that dispel the myths and tell the stories of the human face of homelessness. We supplement our wholesale bulk purchases of essential items by seeking the participation of the corporate, professional and non-profit communities in donations of in kind goods and services, while also continually expanding our volunteer and donor base. The graphs above illustrate the results of our efforts!
Founded in 1999, and granted 501(c)3 status in 2001, The Giving Spirit continues to grow, thanks to our grassroots base, foundation, corporate and non-profit partners and supporters from Greater Los Angeles and beyond and the recognition of the value and impact of our work in addressing and recognizing the truths for laying the groundwork to ameliorate and solve the homeless crisis in Los Angeles and the Nation. The graphs above chart our growth and the success of our outreach and educational efforts over the years.