Our team was interested in helping those less fortunate this year, but found that due to COVID-19, many programs are restricted or on pause. However, we did find there are still organizations helping to serve the homeless, such as My Friend’s Place in Hollywood, CA.
For more than 31 years, My Friend’s Place has been assisting and inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. They started with volunteer-based groups serving meals from the trunks of cars to the well-oiled machine the center operates as today. My Friend’s Place offers comprehensive services to youth experiencing homelessness between the ages of 12 and 25, and their children, each year, helping our homeless young people move toward wellness, stability and self-sufficiency.
During a year where homelessness has seen a vast increase, My Friends Place did not want to shut their doors. They continue to serve the homeless and mentioned that they serve more people than ever––around 150 to 200 people per day. Although some of their programs have momentarily stopped due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic, My Friend’s Place is still offering art classes, employment help, and a few other programs. All programs have adapted to being held outdoors in their parking lot.
The organization cannot serve hot meals as they had before COVID-19. However, they are still accepting various ways for people to volunteer and help out. Our team was able to gift some non-perishable food and we will be donating new and gently used clothes very soon. If you or your family have the means, we highly encourage you to do the same. Any help is appreciated, especially this year.
There are organizations in most cities, so be sure to look into how to help in your community. If you’re in Los Angeles, check out My Friend’s Place and make an appointment to volunteer. Below are a few ways to give back!
Assemble snack packs
- Provide youth with food in easy to-go bags
- Include non perishable food items like trail mix, granola bars, cookies, chips, fruit snacks, water bottle/juice, etc.
Host a clothing drive for new and gently used masculine and feminine clothing and shoes
- Provide youth with essential clothing and shoes, while perhaps doing a little Spring Cleaning at home
- You may purchase new clothing including socks and underwear from our Amazon wish list.
- If you would like to contribute gently used clothing, please adhere to these guidelines:
– You and those you live with must be symptom free for the past 7 days
– Clothing must be laundered while wearing gloves and a mask and packaged in plastic bags (not cardboard or other boxes)
– Please label bags with the date the clothing was laundered and packaged and a description of the clothing (ex. jeans and t-shirts)
– If donating gently used shoes, please spray with Lysol or use disinfectant wipes. We are still not accepting used socks and underwear
– For drop off directions contact Josh Hoffman at email@example.com
Make fabric masks
- Provide youth with masks necessary to follow guidance on wearing face coverings in public and help prevent the spread of COVID-19
- My Friend’s Place is planning to pilot “You wear one, We wash one” mask exchange program for youth once we have acquired enough reusable fabric masks. Youth will be provided a fabric mask to wear and return in exchange for a new one as often as needed. Masks will be washed, sanitized and redistributed on an ongoing basis.
- There are a variety of patterns available for all skill levels online. Recommended to use solid print fabrics if possible to maintain some consistency in appearance.
Assemble art & activity kits
- Provide youth with creative outlets, keeping them active and engaged while reducing isolation and promoting connection
- Include items like colored pencils, coloring books and/or coloring pages, drawing notepads/sketch books, notebooks with lined paper for journaling, markers, paint pens, watercolor sets with brushes, etc.
Host a virtual Bingo game or game night with friends and family as a mini-fundraiser to support My Friend’s Place
- Connect with your loved ones for some fun while supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community
- Select an admission fee to participate in the game – either a small financial donation or item from the My Friend’s Place Amazon Wish List
- Be creative with prizes! Who wouldn’t want to win a secret family recipe, a roll of toilet paper, a Postmates gift card, or a virtual dance lesson?!
If you’re ready to get started, or if you have questions, email their Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel Sanchez, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.