At the Heart of Helping - May 2020 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Dealing with a Variety of Emotions

Yasmin Moganed Quote
There's no good term for this whole situation, is there? "New reality." "Unprecedented times." "Global pandemic." They all feel so overused and ill-fitting. I have personally tried to move more towards acceptance, gratitude and a bit of optimism, so I started referring to it as the "Wild Adventure," but that doesn't really take the somber reality into account either. 

It's hard to name something that has changed things so dramatically and been difficult for all of us in so many ways. For many of us, stress and anxiety fill our lives as we deal with an uncertain future, and so many of our feelings are heightened as we face new and different challenges each day. We've heard from many parents who are trying to help their children manage all of these feelings on top of their own. It's affecting everyone - even 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has struggled with overwhelm and uncertainty as described in a recent interview with ESPN.

For those of us who already face screen time challenges, the struggle has magnified as everything from school to connecting with friends and family now takes place on screens. "Zoom fatigue" has become another new catchphrase as we all try to manage the hours of work, socializing and volunteering on screens. It's difficult to carve out the time and space to process the emotions we are feeling. The experts at the Child Mind Institute prepared some tips to help all of us set expectations, support the children in our lives, and most importantly, cut ourselves some slack. Compassion certainly is key right now for so many things - especially this! Read more in Screen Time During the Coronavirus Crisis.

At the same time, this crisis has also shown us how resilient we can be. Over the past two months, it has been incredible to witness our organization pivot and swiftly navigate safety and logistical concerns so that we could continue to help families. So many community members have reached out to ask how they can help, and there are examples of kindness in our community everywhere we turn!

You Are Not Alone
Since it's Mental Health Month, what better time to highlight a few of the many resources available to help you and your families as you are feeling anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, guilty, lonely or any other emotions - you are certainly not alone!
  • Resilient Little Hearts shares 10 principles to help you navigate the crisis and bring your family closer together in their Family Crisis Guide. It relates to the current crisis, but also to any other challenge you may have to navigate.
  • Finally, the LA County Department of Mental Health has partnered with Headspace to offer free subscriptions to all LA County residents throughout 2020 for their mindfulness and sleep content, mini exercises and more. Click here for complete details.

Click here to find all these resources and more and click here for general resources related to screen time and mental health.

However you describe this challenging time, I hope you find the time and space to look through helpful resources like these, feel all the emotions that are coming up, ask for help if you need it, and remember to take it easy on yourself.


SM Signature

Sara Myers

fundingFood For Kids Funding and Beyond
...At the Heart of Making Our Work Possible

When schools closed and we began making special arrangements with school staff so we could continue to help local families in need, we also saw an increased need for our weekly bags of food as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. That's when we began reaching out to our partners and supporters like you to help us meet the needs of those families - and you did!

We are grateful for our community partners_
Bank of America's Small Business Banking Team for the South Bay and Long Beach with their dental supply donation for Operation Teddy Bear. (Photo taken last year - prior to COVID-19) 
We are thrilled to announce that our friends at  Bank of America are also help ing us as we continue to meet that need with a $15,000 grant for Food For Kids In sharing the news,  Raul A. Anaya , Bank of America Market President for Greater Los Angeles, said: "The Coronavirus has created new challenges for kids and families ranging from greater food insecurity to physical and behavioral health needs, which makes organizations like Volunteer Center so important to support."

We have also received support for Food For Kids from the Kroger Foundation Co., in partnership with Ralph's operating division, and the Sempra Energy Foundation's COVID-19 Nonprofit Hardship Fund.

Thank you
We are extremely grateful for these new opportunities to join together and make a difference in our community, but it is really your support that allows us to continue to fulfill our mission. As nearly every nonprofit organization struggles with the impact of COVID-19, we are more grateful than ever for each and every one of our donors and supporters.

We recently updated the donor page on our website to recognize the generous gifts we've received throughout the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Click here to look it over and make sure we acknowledged you correctly - please email us and let us know if any corrections need to be made! You can also join this growing list (or move up a level!) by making a gift to support our programs, new focus or greatest need.
studentStudent Scholarship & Contest News
...At the Heart of Supporting High School Students

Scholarship Graphic with logo
Do you know a high school senior in the South Bay, Long Beach or Harbor area who overcame personal challenges while still finding time to make a positive contribution to their community? Encourage them to apply for our annual Durfee Family Scholarship! Five local high school seniors will be selected to receive a scholarship to assist them with their first year of college. Click here to download the application form, which includes detailed instructions on how to apply, and note that the application deadline has been extended to Monday, June 15!

South Bay students can also win one of three prizes as part of Torrance Unified School District's Stop the Stigma Campaign 2020 Student Poster and Video Contest! The poster or video submission should illustrate, interpret and emphasize the theme of Mental Health Awareness Month - to reduce the stigma of accessing mental health services and promote wellness. Students are encouraged to focus either generally on wellness, reducing stigma about mental health, or on a high risk group. The contest is open to all open to all South Bay students and entries are due by Sunday, May 31. Click here and then click on Mental Health Awareness Month for complete details.
torranceCelebrating Torrance Volunteers & Community
...At the Heart of Working Together Because We Care

Bob FFK Driver
We are proud to congratulate our friend and extremely dedicated volunteer, Bob Habel, for receiving one of this year's Older American Awards from the City of Torrance and the Commission on Aging and Community Services. The award is given annually to Torrance volunteers who go above-and-beyond to help in the community, and that certainly describes Bob!

The City of Torrance is also putting together a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) highlighting Torrance Cares Connections in our community. Our staff and Food For Kids volunteers were thrilled to take part, showing how we "take care of those in need." Click here to watch the first PSA and see if you can find us. Hint: Look for the big, red heart!

We are so grateful for everything that our Food For Kids volunteers do to help us serve families in need through our partner schools. While our older volunteers are remaining safe in their homes right now, we look forward to the day we can see their smiling faces in our pantry once again!
ffkSupport of Food For Kids Continues
...At the Heart of Stocking Shelves With Love

Food For Kids Update - May 2020

We are grateful to the members of our community who continue to help us keep our pantry shelves stocked with donations to our 
Food For Kids program!
  • Fram Soccer Team Encouragement Cards
    The Fram Girls G05 SOSA Soccer Team hosted a food drive resulting in more than 500 pounds of food, and they contributed 27 encouragement cards for the families we serve as well!
  • The Holt Family returned with a new donation - nearly 100 pounds, including many of the items we need most: breakfast foods, canned veggies, sauce and jelly in non-breakable containers!
  • Our friends at Journey of Faith have been scheduling weekly drop-offs in lieu of their usual quarterly Spring donation, due to social distancing requirements, and they've still managed to deliver nearly 1,500 pounds of food so far!
  • Board Member Roseanney Liu donated nearly 150 pounds of our most-needed items as well!
  • Shari Markus-Kennel donated more than 50 pounds of food!
  • Food For Kids volunteers Sheila Millman, Joe Millman and Leslie Back coordinated financial and food donations through Hadassah Socal L'Dor V'Dor Chapter and Congregation Ner Tamid's Sisterhood and Tikun Olam Committee. They dropped off 225 pounds of food and more than $1,300 in donations for Food For Kids!
  • Our friends at Sandpipers have also stepped up to help us keep our pantry stocked. Their members have been scheduling weekly drop-offs, donating nearly 200 pounds of food so far. Special thanks to our friend and Sandpipers member Laura Stotland of South Bay Mommies and Daddies for giving us and Sandpipers' efforts a special shout out on social media!
We are still accepting non-perishable food donations during this time. However, along with requiring masks and social distancing, we also require appointments to drop off your donations. Click here for complete details on our temporary food donation procedures, our Shelf-Stable Food Shopping List and more!
staffSpotlight On Our Staff
...At the Heart of Giving Back Locally

Jon on GivingTuesdayNow
For the Volunteer Center team, our impact on the community doesn't end when we leave the office. Many of us also volunteer and find ways to give back.

When he's not managing the Food For Kids program or keeping our office running smoothly, Jon Phelps volunteers with the Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) and the Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network (BRAIN).

After helping us on #GivingTuesdayNow, Jon continued celebrating by bringing oranges and banana bread to his friends on LAMI's Tall Ship American Pride in Long Beach on behalf of his family. Check out the heart-shaped banana bread pictured above - it shows how much Jon and the entire Phelps family are truly "at the HEART of helping!"
tip Mental Health Tip

Daily Optimism According to Harvard
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunity
Letters of Gratitude through Operation Gratitude

Share your words of support and appreciation to our heroes serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Letters of Gratitude - Click here for complete details on writing and sending letters for First Responders, Emergency Medical Personnel and Deployed Troops.
  • Digital Letter Writing - Click here to submit a message that will be printed on a special postcard and delivered to a Frontline Responder.
The Affinity Group
ActivePDF_ Inc.
Battle Creek Community Foundation
California Water Service
Crail-Johnson Foundation
Griswold _ Griswold Insurance Agency
Herbalife Nutrition Foundation
John Deere Foundation
Keenan _ Associates
Los Angeles Trial Lawyers_ Charities
The Molina Foundation
The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation
The Port of Long Beach
The Port of Los Angeles
Sares Regis Group
Valero Energy Foundation
Watson Land Company
Carl E. Wynn Foundation
Whitney Young Children_s Foundation
The Volunteer Center  South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
Phone: (310) 212-5009 | Fax: (310) 212-7201 |

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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 50 years. The heart of our mission lies in knowing the most urgent, local needs. We learn these needs by regularly listening to the members of our community. When we discover a critical need is going unmet, we lead the response by assembling a team of caring, talented volunteers to create signature programs, such as Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids, offering members of our community the opportunity to contribute to the solution. Click here to learn more about Engaging Hearts and Minds - our new, all-encompassing program designed to compassionately support community members, so everyone can look up, re-connect, empathize with each other, build resilience, express emotions and practice self-care.