Our Programs

     

Established in 1999, The Giving Spirit continues to serve thousands of homeless individuals and families in Los Angeles County through five programs. Sponsored community events provide volunteers with unique experiences – educational workshops, hands on assembly of survival kits, and often the opportunity to personally deliver survival kits to those in need or to a community partner also providing direct services to homeless individuals, children, and families.  

The Giving Spirit’s humanitarian approach to assemble and deliver 10,000-12,000 signature survival kits each year includes use of reliable research and data in addition to partnering with frontline service providers. The Giving Spirit’s goals are to provide essential life needs, educate our volunteers and community about the human face of homelessness and to connect unsheltered families and individuals to services and housing.

Summer and Winter Outreaches

      

The Giving Spirit’s Winter and Summer Outreach events provide opportunities for volunteers to learn about the myths and realities of homelessness and help assemble and personally give out survival kits on the streets or at agency locations. During the assembly process, volunteers and community members can attend Learning Experience workshops about homeless needs, experiences and current issues. By building and giving out the kits, we strengthen our community through connection, acknowledgment, understanding and action in help others in need.

  • The Winter Survival Kit includes 75 items in duffel bags – food, hydrating drinks, hygiene items, toiletries, clothing, weather protection, a blanket and more.  
  • The Summer Survival Kit includes 45-50 items in backpacks designed for warm weather.
  • Our network of 20 plus partner agencies include Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, United Way, Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, Safe Place for Youth, The People Concern, Downtown Women’s Center, Union Rescue Mission and many more.

Backpacks 4 LAUSD Homeless Students Program

      

In partnership with the Home Education Office of LAUSD, The Giving Spirit procures thousands of school supplies and hygiene items needed to assemble 6,000 backpacks. LAUSD counts more than 18,000 self-identified homeless LAUSD students. Studies show that homeless students are twice as likely to be absent, have higher suspension rates and lower achievement scores than the overall average. Yet homeless students in California graduate high school at a rate of 69% versus the overall rate of 83% and 50% go on to college, demonstrating the will to learn and succeed despite the challenges. The backpacks supply tools and essential items that their parents might not afford and encourage students to feel valued and to learn their way out of homelessness and poverty.

  • Sturdy backpacks contain age-appropriate school supplies for elementary, middle, and high school students as recommended by LAUSD teachers and counselors.
  • Family size hygiene products are included for all family members, including PPE.

Women’s and Girls Initiative

      

Women represent 32% of the homeless population in Los Angeles, including recent increases in homeless families.  Most homeless women are vulnerable to outdoor elements, effects of isolation and assaults. A high percentage of homeless women report unmet medical needs. The health needs of pregnancy and menstrual cycle create special challenges.

  • Special emergency care kits contain feminine hygiene, health and beauty products are distributed separately or in addition to the basic survival kit.
  • New Mother Kits diaper bags that include 25 infant items for new and expectant mothers are distributed to homeless mothers on the street or at agencies along with cases of diapers and formula.

Companion Animal Program

      

Companion animals play an important role in helping their homeless caretakers survive and blunt the effects of isolation, depression, and loneliness.  Studies show that caring for animals can improve the mental and physical health and levels of responsibility, often providing unsheltered individuals with hope.  The Companion Animal Kits provide supplies to keep companion animal with their owners.  The idea came from a young volunteer who recognized the powerful connections between companion animals and their owners, and asked, “what about them”.  Building and distributing these special kits provides opportunities for homeless individuals to seek other services.

  • Special companion animal kits include food, leashes, collars, grooming supplies, and toys and are distributed separately or with the basic survival kit.
  • Supplies prepare companion animal owners to follow the animal leashing requirements at shelters, transitional housing centers or other service providers.