|Letter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of a Fresh New Year
I love the beginning of a fresh, new year. The blank page that brings with it renewed hope, new goals and a fresh start. We are expecting to conclude a long strategic planning process this year that will document our renewed purpose and refreshed goals for this organization. As part of the process, we've been analyzing how we can best continue to be "at the heart of helping" in the communities we serve. We are working hard to listen to you, our community, so that we can identify the most urgent community needs that need the most attention from organizations like ours. I look forward to sharing more with you as the year unfolds. I can guarantee that our updated direction will inspire you!
Thank you for supporting us through all of our new years, whether it's been from nearby or far away, virtually - by visiting
, reading our updates, interacting
and sharing our news with others - or making contributions of your time and talents, money or donations to our signature programs. We are grateful to everyone who has helped the Volunteer Center continue to address critical needs in our community - however you choose to support us.
Thank you for joining us "at the heart of helping!"
|MLK Day of Service Collaboration in Long Beach
...At the Heart of a "Day On, Not a Day Off!"
Members of the local community joined together on Monday, January 15 to make MLK Day a "Day On, Not A Day Off" in collaboration with Leadership Long Beach, the Port of Long Beach, the Office of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and the Office of Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. The Volunteer Center joined these groups to organize and publicize service projects throughout Long Beach in honor of the MLK National Day of Service.
The day started with a kickoff in Houghton Park, featuring a pancake breakfast prepared by the Long Beach Firefighters' Association, and then participants broke off to volunteer for nine different service projects. Representatives from the Volunteer Center joined Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, Leadership Long Beach, Long Beach Leadership Youth and members of the community to revive some of the garden plots and plant vegetables - complete with a lesson in organic gardening by Long Beach Organic - at the Mary Molina Community Garden. The event was covered by
Long Beach Post
, and it truly showed how well
Long Beach Serves
|2nd Annual Family Fun Fair and Disneyland Raffle
...At the Heart of
FUNdraising with Magical Prizes!
We hope you've marked your calendar for our second annual Heart of Helping Family Fun Fair, which will take place on Saturday, March 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We're excited to present another fun-filled day of games and activities where you can teach your kids about giving back while helping us raise funds for our programs and services!
To add to the excitement, we're bringing back our popular Disneyland Park Hopper raffle - stay tuned for details on how to purchase tickets online or at the event. Don't miss your chance to win a magical time at the happiest place on earth!
|Volunteers Needed for "Little Hats, Big Hearts"
...At the Heart of Crafting for a Good Cause
Do you knit or crochet? If so, you should consider volunteering for "
Little Hats, Big Hearts
," a collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Children's Heart Foundation. They are looking for volunteers to create little red hats for babies born in February in honor of American Heart Month.
The hats will be distributed to infants in hospitals in more than 40 states throughout February to spread awareness about heart disease and congenital heart defects. Last year, hundreds of volunteers knitted or crocheted 90,000 tiny hats for the project.
Those wishing to participate should use any red yard that is cotton or acrylic, medium to heavy weight, and machine washable/dryable. They also recommend simple hat patterns. While bows and buttons are cute, they can be dangerous for the little ones if they come off the hats. Local participating hospitals include
Long Beach Memorial Hospital
Providence Little Company of Mary
Torrance Memorial Medical Center
for more details about the project and how you can take part!
The Latest Community Support for Food For Kids
...At the Heart of Filling Kids' Tummies
Our food pantry is overflowing once again thanks to more than 2,000 pounds of Food For Kids donations from the CannaCauses Foundation, CRB, HealthCare Partners, JCPenney, National Charity League, Realtor Jill Sparks, simplehuman and St. Peter's by the Sea!
- The CannaCauses Foundation donated 350 pound of food!
- The team at CRB's Los Angeles office in Gardena donated 72 pounds of food!
- HealthCare Partners donated 89 pounds of food!
- The Torrance JCPenney store donated 130 pounds of food!
- The National Charity League donated 149 pounds of food!
- Realtor Jill Sparks with Keller Williams Coastal Properties coordinates an annual food drive during the holiday season. This year's donation contained a whopping 1,009 pounds of food!
- The team at household consumer goods company simplehuman - headquartered in Torrance - collected and donated 140 pounds of food. They also printed their own signs featuring our Non-Perishable Food Shopping List and attached them to boxes the size of their well-known garbage cans... it looks like even their boxes are "tools for efficient living" and put to very good use!
- The donation from St. Peter's by the Sea, delivered by Board Member Shirley Starke-Wallace, contained 74 pounds of food!
We count on kind donations like these, so we can distribute bags of food to eligible families every week. Click here to learn more about the program, including about how and where you can contribute, as well as our Non-Perishable Food Shopping List.
|Nominations for Torrance Older American Award
...At the Heart of Honoring Our Senior Volunteers
The City of Torrance Commission on Aging invites you to nominate qualified volunteer candidates for the
2018 Older American Award
! The nomination form can be
and should be submitted
by Friday, February 9
to Debbie Reed, Senior Recreation Supervisor in the Community Services Department, by email at
, fax at (310) 618-2903, or mailed to her attention at the City of Torrance, 3031 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90503.
Nominees must reside in the City of Torrance and should be at least 50 or older. Suggested content for the nomination should include how long the candidate has lived in Torrance, a focus on volunteer efforts, personal accomplishments, and details about the nominees' family and career. This is a perfect opportunity to brag about the person you are nominating!
Awards will be presented by the Mayor and members of City Council at a Torrance City Council meeting in May, also designated as Older American Month. The presentation will include language taken directly from the nomination form. Honorees are welcome to bring family and friends to the City Council meeting for the presentation - notifications and specific details will be sent to award recipients by early April.
|Continuing to Find Ways to Help in Times of Crisis
...At the Heart of Emergency Assistance
Many of us are still looking for ways to help as we watch the disasters continue to unfold throughout Southern California, including the recent mudslides in Santa Barbara.
on the Little Things' blog provides more specific suggestions about how you can help those affected in Santa Barbara. A reminder, as they are not local - the Volunteer Center has not vetted these organizations. We simply wanted to provide you with this information so you can decide how best to help.
The California Volunteers website also has helpful information about current disasters and how you can help. We wanted to highlight one of the important points they made, as this topic has come up in our discussions with our Corporate Volunteer Council and elsewhere. Visit
for this and more:
Used clothing is never needed in a disaster area. Donate used clothing locally to an organization that has a year round mission with used clothing. Or sell used clothing at a yard sale and donate the money raised to a responding organization.
It is important to remember unsolicited donated goods (e.g. clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs) require voluntary agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors. Individuals wishing to donate household or other goods are asked to wait until the needs of those affected are made known.
THANK YOU TO OUR MAJOR SPONSORS:
The Volunteer Center
South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
The Volunteer Center South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach recognizes the valuable role volunteers play in our society and has been "at the heart of helping" for more than 50 years. Volunteers are recruited and referred to more than 400 nonprofit organizations in our service area, as well as for our own signature programs: Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids.
Potential volunteers can contact us to obtain information and connect with just the right service experience, fulfilling our mission of "mobilizing people and resources to deliver creative solutions to community needs." Visit www.volcenter.org to learn more.