Let's assume you do not have the financial resources of Los Angeles
billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong
but would like to give some meaningful holiday gifts. For example, what do
you give post-millennials
who hate everything except Justin Bieber? Please do not donate to an organization of your choice, then
in their name (unless it celebrates
the life a deceased family member or friend). It shows a lapse in good
judgment and borders on being rude.
Before you give one dollar to any charity check them out on www.charitynavigator.org
Read the amount of revenue they collect as well as their expenses. You
be shocked to learn the CEO, administrator or celebrity attached to the
organization is using most of the
funds collected. Often you'll find that a paltry sum is being used to find
a solution or cure.
There are several options available that will help spread good cheer.
Think about helping serve holiday
meals at missions around the area. You might want to contact your church
or temple regarding special
times when congregants can participate in donating time to a worthy cause.
Operation Gratitude operates
out of Van Nuys Armory and they always need volunteers to help package
holiday boxes for our
troops stationed overseas. You can email: OpGratVolunteer1@yahoo.com to ask
about dates and times.
You will need their permission to join the massive effort -- they need to
monitor the number of people.
Senior retirement homes, children's orphanages and special needs hospitals
such as Rancho Los Amigos
welcome volunteers during holidays.
Teenagers can learn a new skill and receive school credit for their time
spent helping others in rehabilitation.
Many Angelenos fondly recall KABC- Channel 7 weatherman, Dr. George
Fischbeck's annual pilgrimage to
Porterville State Hospital. He faithfully traveled to the Sierra Nevada
foothills loaded with gifts and toys for
the residents. Viewers were treated to clips of Dr. George holding happy
children on top of ponies -- for so
many kids it was their first ride. His visits brought tears of joy to the
eyes of most of his viewers. If you'd like
to visit or volunteer call: (559) 782-2222 or 2286. Para Los Ninos was
begun on the streets of Skid Row in
downtown Los Angeles. It is a non-profit organization which helps children
in at-risk neighborhoods. They are
grateful for donations, but also welcome mentors. You can attend their
Fiesta on December 9, 2012 or call
(213) 250-4800 for more information about how to be of service to this
It's important for children to learn that there's much more to life than
the hi-tech gadgets, games and
texting to which they seem addicted. Consider giving kids a membership to
the Children's Museum, Tree
People (email@example.com ), the
Aquarium of the Pacific (firstname.lastname@example.org), or
self-enrichment classes in languages, art, dance, vocal or musical
instrument training or self-defense.
Lessons in sports can open new vistas for children too -- golf or tennis
are favorites which can be played
over your lifetime..
If you are an avid Bridge player, spend time teaching youngsters how to
master this excellent game.
The same goes for Chess. For kids who like bikes, ask your local bike shop
owner if your child can
learn the basics of bike repair. There is a good school in Colorado which
now prepares people for
certification to become professional. You might also consider teaching a
child rappelling, skiing or skating,
expert instuction in any of these is a great idea for becoming more active
(for the entire family) while
providing safe practice.
Barnes and Nobel (Bookstar located at 12136 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City,
CA 91604) began a
holiday book donation program a few years ago in conjunction with
Children's Hospital. Today I chose
a copy of "A Wrinkle in Time", paid for it and signed a book plate. My
purchase will be delivered to
Children's Hospital and given to a patient. I prefer to donate anonymously
but Barnes and Noble has
its own set of rules. Their program is wonderful and you can buy as many
books as you wish to donate.
I recently spoke with the uncle of a two-year old leukemia patient
undergoing treatment at Children's
Hospital who praised the brilliant work they do on behalf of their young
Whatever your decision about the above mentioned holiday gifts, get or
create a certificate or coupon
and enclose related literature, put it in a box and wrap it with holiday
gift wrap. You won't be sorry when
you begin to think inside the box for a change.