We Took Care of our Own...
Our 18th Winter Outreach was yet another incredible gathering of community, with over 2,000 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, coming together to serve the enormous population of unsheltered men, women, and children in Los Angeles.
We Made Magic
Volunteers formed an impressive assembly line, stuffing 2,678 duffle bags with life-sustaining goods. We also assembled kits specifically to serve the needs of women, toddlers, and companion animals, pushing our total to 3,059 survival kits distributed. Another army of volunteers loaded up trucks, vans, and cars to directly serve our people “where they stand.” While it pains us to know that we cannot reach all of LA’s over 60,000 homeless individuals, we hope to touch more and more lives at every opportunity.
The weekend was also a time of learning! Mayor Garcetti spoke of LA’s current state of homelessness, its plans for improvement and his pride in The Giving Spirit’s role in mitigating the effects of poverty on the City. He responded to relevant questions during this historic Town Hall (watch it here!). The Pacific Palisades Task On Homelessness shared their impressive model which has provided permanent housing for 40% of their homeless population (watch that here!).
We express our deepest gratitude to those who contributed in any and every way: the 2,000 individual volunteers. Thank you for your patience as our all-volunteer leadership dealt with the challenges in staging our event. Please know we are committed to delivering the best experience possible and are constantly learning.
Special shout outs to: our ever-supportive Mayor, Eric Garcetti, City Councilman Mike Bonin, Alisa Orduna, LA’s Homeless Policy Director and the Pacific Palisades Task on Homelessness to lead our Education breakout sessions. And to Image Solutions, for their water bottle pre-assembly, Cub and Boy Scouts of Eagle Rock and B’Nai David, for their sub-assembly, Harvard Westlake, for their women’s kit assembly, and National Charity League - Westside, for their toddler kit assembly. We appreciate every man, woman, and child who came to lend a hand.
Abundant appreciation to all of the generous donors who made this happen. If you are moved by the amount of hope we serve and want to help us close our $13,347 2017 budget gap - please donate now. You only have 11 days left to make a tax-exempt contribution to our work. Remember, a minimum of 95% of every dollar goes back to the lives on our streets.
PS. If you want to see some of the great photos from last weekend, check out our Instagram and Facebook, or search by #thegivingspirit. Enjoy the magic!
Dun & Bradstreet Donates Historic Seed Funding for Community Education and Awareness Initiative
A GRATEFUL HEART IS A MAGNET FOR MIRACLES
The Giving Spirit gratefully acknowledges The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation for its gift of $100,000, the largest single contribution in its history. This donation was made at the recommendation of Jeff Stibel, Vice Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, a long-time friend and supporter of The Giving Spirit. This donation provides seed funding for The Giving Spirit’s recently established Community Education and Awareness Initiative which informs and educates volunteers on issues around poverty and the unsheltered through seminars at events involving speakers and panelists on pertinent homeless issues, topics, and solutions.
Stibel has been involved with The Giving Spirit since he and his family initially participated in one of the organization's semi-annual outreach events. Since his introduction to The Giving Spirit, Stibel has made supporting its cause a priority. “I’ve seen firsthand how The Giving Spirit brings real hope by meeting the immediate needs of the City’s most vulnerable people," says Stibel. “For both the volunteers and the people being served, meeting people where they stand to provide aid in the moment is profoundly and uniquely impactful. I am proud to be a part of The Giving Spirit and to help support its new Community Education and Awareness Initiative."
Stibel’s involvement and Dun & Bradstreet’s contribution demonstrate the impact that corporate and personal donors can make towards the mission of The Giving Spirit. We are grateful for both Jeff and The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation for seeding this landmark initiative and we look forward to working with other able contributors who share in our long-term commitment to alleviating poverty in our communities.
Voyager LA Profiles Our Work
"Today we’d like to introduce you to Tom Bagamane and Laura Albers.
Tom and Laura, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Tom: Our mission is to provide an unsheltered soul or souls with everything that they need to “survive where they stand” while educating our City on the reality of homelessness and the root causes of poverty. We have been told by parents, children and educators that The Giving Spirit is the best teaching tool for kids and families to learn about true social justice, the danger of making decisions without knowing the facts, the societal disconnect that comes with entitlement and in facing the realization that many of their fellow unsheltered neighbors have parallel lives, hopes and dreams. It realigns their filters when judging those less fortunate."
Sign Up Soon for Winter Outreach 2017!
Winter Outreach sign-ups are just around the corner. Signing up early will ensure your spot at our most popular event of the year. This holiday season you have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of homeless individuals by packing and distributing kits stuffed with survival essentials. Start spreading the word to your friends, coworkers and family. Registration will be available October 15, so save the date!
Shopping For Our Cause
Did you know that when you shop on Amazon or at Ralphs that a percentage of your purchase can be donated to The Giving Spirit? The AmazonSmile Foundation donates .05% of each linked dollar spent to the charity of your choice. Ralphs donates a percentage of your purchase amount each time you use your membership number. There are no additional charges added to your bill and everything happens automatically after a quick 2 minute setup.
To sign up for AmazonSmiles, simply follow this link smile.amazon.com to connect your Amazon account to The Giving Spirit. Go to "Pick your own charitable organization" and search The Giving Spirit. Select The Giving Spirit at the top of the list and your account will be linked to ours at no charge. Easy!
To setup your Ralphs account, simply go online to www.ralphs.com, sign in to your account and go to “My Account.” Link your card to our organization by clicking on “Community Rewards” at the bottom. You’ll need our Charity Number (92369) and the full name of our organization (The Giving Spirit). If you’ve never registered your Ralphs card, you may have to register your card first. Having troubles? Send us an email and we’ll be glad to help - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer. Give. Learn.
In volunteering, there’s nothing more rewarding than rubbing shoulders with like-minded caring people and seeing directly the difference you are making in people’s lives. And that’s what volunteers at our annual Summer Outreach on May 19 and 20 experienced!
Our efforts at volunteer recruitment clearly paid off. Over 600 volunteers worked collaboratively together, assembling over 2,600 backpack survival kits and then heading to the streets and agency partners on Saturday to directly reach and connect with our homeless neighbors.
One of the joys of the Summer Outreach is that adults, children, and families worked together, both in the efficient “assembly line” of backpack kits and then in the outreach of love. Teamwork, commitment, and laughter make up the spirit of the day.
Check out our Facebook page and Instagram photos to see what we mean. The smiles on the faces of the homeless neighbors we serve are the true measure of the impact we can have. It is not always easy for people like Reecy and Lester to get to a shelter where they can receive supplies, so these kits are precious lifelines.
Our volunteers made this year’s Summer Outreach a success, as did the generous support of our in-kind sponsors:
Stuart and Marianne Gilfenban
Councilman Mike Bonin’s Office
Verizon Digital Media Services
Miraleste intermediate School RPV
ARC Doc. Solutions-Long Beach
Image Solutions, Inc.,
NY Bagel/Peet’s Coffee
Brentwood Presbyterian Church
Click here to watch the Summer Outreach presentation and speeches >
On Friday, March 24, over 300 Fox employees were excused from their busy offices to a windy courtyard on its backlot where The Giving Spirit in collaboration with FoxGives, setup a 100-foot tent sub-assembly in preparation for our Summer Outreach. It was a fabulous day as it was the largest charitable event ever hosted at FOX! Volunteers packed toothbrushes in waterbottles, ziplocked razorblades and put together soap in soap containers.
In the mix of glorious and generous volunteers, we had Milo Ventimiglia, Kaitlin Olson, Jordana Brewster and Terrence Howard.
Now through the Ralphs rewards Community Contribution Program, every time you shop at your local Ralphs, a contribution will be made to TGS. It's easy. Click one of the links below, and get either the online sign up instructions, or print out the ScanBar form and take it to your local Ralphs.