In a giving mood, are you?
Think about giving to those who need it most — one of L.A.'s most-beloved nonprofit organizations. Our list includes one group known for taking gang members off the streets and another that helps to educate some of L.A. poorest kids.
You'll feel good just reading about them.
5. Venice Family Clinic. Long before Obamacare the folks at Venice Family Clinic argued that people should be able to get medical attention regardless of whether they can afford it. The Clinic says it serves 24,400 people a year with a dedicated staff (including one of our 2013 People, Dr. Coley King), and 2,100 volunteers. They've been doing this since 1970. Donate.
4. Union Rescue Mission. With arguably the largest Skid Row in the nation, L.A.'s vast homeless population relies on precious few shelters and kitchens to folks on the street survive. Key among them is Union Rescue Mission, which started in downtown L.A. way back in 1891. It still does what it always did — putting a roof over the heads of our huddled masses. Donate.
3. Covenant House. One of the sad facets of our homelessness problem in Los Angeles is the number of kids who end up on our streets. While things don't seem as bad as they were in the 1980s and '90s, when teens squatted in old abandoned buildings in Hollywood and sold their bodies on the local streets, there's still a need: Every day they keep coming to L.A. with just a backpack on their shoulders and stars in their eyes. Covenant House has had a bed for many of them since 1988. Donate.
2. Homeboy Industries. A few years ago we asked Father Gregory Boyle how he could find love in his heart for street-gang criminals who destroy their own communities with drugs and violence. His answer was simple: It's the Catholic thing to do. If we can't find love and redemption for our most-reviled citizens, then we don't have faith. For decades Boyle's Homeboy Industries has been giving L.A. gangsters a pathway out of the vida loca with jobs, tattoo removal and counseling. Donate.
1. Las Familias del Pueblo. Alice Callaghan, a former Catholic nun, is the vocal conscience of economic injustice in Los Angeles. The founder of the Skid Row Housing Trust, she runs Las Familias del Pueblo as a support center for immigrant and homeless families. It includes an after-school program for 100 of L.A.'s most impoverished children and a legal clinic for the 500 or so local families it serves. More than that, however, Callaghan's Skid Row facilities serve as the moral backbone of a city overshadowed by the false glimmer of Hollywood. Contact.