At the Heart of Helping - December 2020
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Reflection and Hope

As we find ourselves in that cloudy "in-between" time after the holiday craze, leftovers, and abundance and before the fresh start of the New Year, it's a perfect time for reflection and hope. 

December was such an incredible example of your love and support for our families. 
  • You helped donate more than 30,000 pounds/15 tons of food (roughly 72,000 meals) to our Food For Kids program since our last eNewsletter!!
  • We partnered with Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN) and gave thousands of food and gift items to local children as part of the Frosty Fiesta event. 
  • Our new teen program, Connect, wrapped up and we are making plans for the next one.
  • We received a $55,000 grant to partner with Supervisor Janice Hahn and the County of Los Angeles to launch a program to help provide grants for restaurants to help feed families in need in the Fourth District. 
You can read more details in the articles below. 

Now, as we turn our eyes to the horizon of 2021, we are incredibly excited about what lies ahead. We are working on new creative ways to deliver our empathy message and Operation Teddy Bear supplies to children learning at home. We are making plans for our continued support and expansion of Connect, knowing that teens need real connection and wellness right now. We are planning fun, family-friendly and safe missions for our Heart to Heart Scavenger Hunt fundraiser in March. We will have more exciting announcements about these and other plans in the New Year. 

In the meantime, may you find time to rest, catch your breath, and open the door for all the renewed hope, energy and potential the new year brings. 

Thank you for being "at the heart of helping,"
SM Signature
Sara Myers
RestaurantsGrants for Small Restaurants to Feed Families
...At the Heart of Neighbors Feeding Neighbors

Do you have a favorite little sandwich cafe, taco shop, pizza place, or other favorite eatery? If so, please make sure the owners know about this opportunity! 

We are proud to announce a new partnership with funding from Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County 4th District to provide small South Bay restaurants affected by COVID with grants up to $5,000 to provide gift cards for meals to local families in need. 

Applications are due by January 11, but selections will be made on a rolling basis. For complete eligibility details and to access the simple online application visit:
DonateStill Time For Year-End Gifts To Be Doubled!
...At the Heart of Making an Even Bigger Impact!

As we come to the end of 2020, thanks to an ongoing generous $50,000 challenge grant from Dianne and Hans Bozler wrapping a giant "hug" around families in needyour year-end tax deductible donations will still be DOUBLED for even more impact, through mid-January. 

Please consider becoming an automatic monthly donor to support families year-round, or make a one-time gift of any amount. Donations can easily be made online by clicking the image below: 

If you need any assistance in making your year end donation or using another format such as a stock donation, email or call (310) 212-5009. 
CheerHoliday Cheer Delivered at Frosty Fiesta!
...At the Heart of Making Sure Children Have Gifts

When COVID caused us to push our Operation Teddy Bear program back to February 2021, we were sad that the Volunteer Center would not be delivering our regular holiday gifts and cheer to local children. 

Thanks to all of your food donations, a grant from Los Angeles County, and an anonymous donation of thousands of high-quality toys, we were able to brighten the holidays for more than 100 Pediatric Therapy Network children at their annual holiday event. In alignment with COVID-safe protocols, more than 80 families went through a drive-through to accept craft kits, goodies, books, toys, and other gifts to brighten the holiday. 

The most heart-tugging, tearful moment of the evening was when we loaded an extra special red tricycle into the truck of a family who had their belongings stolen recently. The tricycle was donated to the Volunteer Center by a mother who lost her young son, and donates gifts in his memory each year. The father receiving the trike said that his son would be absolutely overjoyed to see the gift on Christmas morning. 
...At the Heart of Overflowing Kindness

This past month, we were astounded by all of the kindness and empathy as loads and loads of donations kept coming all month. A special thank you to Sares Regis who donated a warehouse for the overflow. As a result of your kindness and COVID relief funds from the County of Los Angeles, we were able to deliver an additional 12,936 meals to local families through nonprofits and schools in December! 

A special thank you to all the volunteers who helped us carry, sort, check, pack and deliver hundreds of bags of food on a very tight timeline! 

We are so thankful to the following groups for the pounds of food they each donated: 

Journey of Faith - 6,385.5
Inner Empowerment Center - 4,857 
National Charity League - South Bay, Manhattan/Hermosa, & Pier Chapters - 3,922    
South & West Torrance High Schools - 3,762 
Optum (Torrance) - 3,086
Amazon Smile - 2,173
Boy Scout Troop # 718 - 1,478
South Bay Tamil Sangham - 1,215
South Bay Food Initiative - 984 lbs
Graceway Church - 809
Swim Torrance - 612
Optum Claims (El Segundo) - 703.5  
GAP, Banana Republic Del Amo & The Grove  - 433
Holt Family - 386 
Esmeralda Babakhani in Honor of Ezra Babakai - 230
Erin Hicks-Dawson - 217
Chase Maguire - 190.5
Cub Scout Pack #718 -  156  
Old Torrance Neighborhood Association (OTNA) - 144
Jennifer Buchsbaum - Girl Scout Troop #6025 -127.5
Carson Lions Club / National Association of University Women - 122
Girl Scout Troop #3845 - 114.5  
Sandpipers - 94
Dawn Jacobson - 93
Susan Meditz - 73
De De Hicks & Neighbors - 44

In addition the following donors also gave food donation up to 40 pounds:
Mayra Avila, Sharon Broadbent, Ariana Hohka, Natalie Leyton, Autumn Moore, Charlene Nishimura, Carol Riser, Lenaya Sterling, Melody Vahadi and Sue Walters.

We are currently accepting much-needed food donations by appointment only to ensure everyone's safety. Click here to learn about our temporary donation procedures, download our non-perishable food Shopping List, find a link to our Amazon Wish List to have donations shipped directly to us, and more!
Please also consider a Financial Gift to help us manage the program and/or donate to our Operation Teddy Bear Toothbrush Drive instead.

We've extended the deadline through January- so there is still time to help ensure every Operation Teddy Bear student receives a new toothbrush and toothpaste in their schoolbag. Sadly, many students share that their families aren't able to purchase extra items like these.

(Gifts Made in Support of July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 Programs)
The Affinity Group

The Molina Foundation
The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation
No Kid Hungry
The Volunteer Center South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
(310) 212-5009 |

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Recognizing the value of empathy and service to others, the Volunteer Center has been "at the heart of helping" for more than 55 years. Our mission is to increase social and emotional wellness in youth and families in our community and we measure this impact through a rise in empathy and resilience for those we serve. To learn more about our programs and history, visit