Regular, weekly volunteers are the lifeblood of a nonprofit organization. They are vital to day-to-day operations, but you may not know the names of these unsung community heroes. Since we often tell you about the volunteers who help us with special projects, we love using National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to shine a light on our team of year-round, consistent volunteers in appreciation for all they do!
We depend on our weekly volunteers to keep the Food For Kids program running smoothly, including sorting and organizing donations, packing the bags and delivering them to the elementary schools each Friday. We are lucky to have a fantastic and hard-working contingent that we count on week-in and week-out to make this program a success. Click here to read about our Food For Kids volunteers!
We are extremely grateful to our regular volunteers who assist with administrative support, research and special projects. We are also lucky to have an amazing Affinity Group, with dedicated members who work together to support Operation Teddy Bear and other programs through fundraising events and other projects throughout the year. You can read more about the Affinity Group here, and you can read about all of our Operation Teddy Bear volunteers here.
Finally, no list of nonprofit volunteers would be complete without taking a moment to recognize our board and committee members who dedicate their time and talents to ensure the organization runs successfully. We are grateful to our Board of Directors for all that they do!
Celebrate National Volunteer Week by Honoring a Volunteer!
Click here to make a donation in honor of your favorite volunteer before the end of April, which will also help fund future volunteer-driven projects at the Volunteer Center. If you provide the volunteer's name and email address on the form, they will receive a special e-card letting them know a donation was made in their honor to celebrate National Volunteer Week!
A Phenomenally Successful Family Fun Fair
We didn't let a little rain get in the way of our second annual Heart of Helping Family Fun Fair last month. Our team of amazing volunteers and staff moved the activities indoors, and more than 300 community members of all ages played games, won prizes, participated in crafts and service activities, had their faces painted, entered to win opportunity drawings, enjoyed delicious carnival food and took advantage of an opportunity to teach kids about volunteering and kindness!
Volunteers from Keenan & Associates created new games featuring aspects of Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids, and attendees had the opportunity to give back to the community through two service activities: coloring cards for patients at Torrance Memorial, one of our event sponsors, and seed planting for Madrona Marsh. The event also featured a special appearance by Wonder Girl, courtesy of Wishing Well Entertainment and Parties, who encouraged everyone to become superheroes by spreading kindness and volunteering to help others. Children enjoyed a kindness-themed story time co-sponsored by South Bay Families Connected, and parents were able to continue the teaching opportunity at home with a list of kindness-themed books. The Helpful Honda People even made a surprise appearance, serving as another example of spreading kindness and helping others by passing out umbrellas and other giveaways to guests.
The Family Fun Fair was a tremendous success due to the support of our sponsors: the Simon Law Group, Torrance Memorial, Torrance Refining Company, Keenan & Associates, Kinecta, Impact Production, Saatchi & Saatchi, Smart & Final, South Bay Families Connected, South Bay Mommies and Daddies, the California Water Service, DJ Ozzie, MOOG, Torrance Bakery and Torrance Community Credit Union. It also goes without saying that we could not have done it without our team of volunteers, who represented sponsoring organizations and in-kind donors, as well as AskBrad, Beacon House, Girl Scout Troop 4115, Torrance Police and Fire Departments, We Will Save Your World Face Painting and members of the community. Click here for links to see more photos and videos of the event!
Become a Kids For Kids Sponsor!
The Volunteer Center is grateful to the Affinity Group for their leadership in creating unique fundraisers year-after-year. This year, they've launched Kids For Kids, a wonderful opportunity for individuals, corporations and organizations to join the Affinity Group in supporting Operation Teddy Bear. Inspired by the goats used to clear brush on the hillsides of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and other areas in the South Bay, Kids For Kids sponsors will receive a special gift from the Affinity Group: a resin statue of a baby goat - otherwise known as a "kid!"
One of these charming statues with adorable faces, realistic eyes and playful poses (pictured) will be hand painted with a unique design by a local artist, unless you prefer to keep the natural look of your "kid." Your Kids For Kids sponsorship will be acknowledged on a special website, and if you plan to display your statue at a public location, your "kid" will be featured on the website's interactive map. Click here for complete details about this sponsorship program!
Kinecta's Continued Support
Kinecta's Lisa Longoria stopped by a recent board meeting to present a check to President/CEO Sara Myers and Board Chair Lynne Neuman in support of Operation Teddy Bear, Food For Kids and the Family Fun Fair. During her visit, she shared how much the Kinecta team enjoys supporting and volunteering for our programs. We are extremely grateful to our friends at Kinecta for their longstanding support of the Volunteer Center!
The Parkland Hearts Art Project
Our friends at HandsOn Broward are calling on the helping hands of every community across the country to honor those affected by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida through the Parkland Hearts Art Project.
In times like these, kindness and compassion are more important than ever, so we invite you to share your words of hope, encouragement and togetherness through this project. All of the hearts sent to HandsOn Broward will be turned into an art installation to preserve the memory of our shared experience while honoring those affected by this tragedy. Click here for step-by-step instructions and check out examples of the hearts they've already received on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The Latest Food For Kids Collections
We are so grateful for the support we continue to receive from the local community for our Food For Kids program!
- Beta Iota Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International in Long Beach - an honor society of women educators - selected our Food for Kids program as the beneficiary of their Community Service Project and collected 130 pounds of food!
- The team at CBRE in El Segundo donated more than 100 pounds of food!
- The team at DaVita Dialysis Center in Lakewood and Paramount donated nearly 185 pounds of food!
- The team at Honeywell Aerospace held a food during Engineers Week and collected nearly 300 pounds of food!
- Elizabeth McCarthy of Torrance donated 156 pounds of food and Jo Tomich of San Pedro donated 62 pounds of food!
Currently, our greatest need is for breakfast items such as cereal, oatmeal and granola bars. Click here to learn more about Food For Kids, where to drop off donations and view/download a copy of our Non-Perishable Food Shopping List. You can also learn about the latest Food For Kids donations from the community and more on our Facebook page!
Operation Teddy Bear Volunteers-in-Action
We are truly grateful to the community of volunteers, donors and sponsors that make Operation Teddy Bear possible each year. Thanks to their support, we provided more than 4,000 underserved first-graders at local elementary schools with a kind gift during the 2017 holiday season - a brightly-colored schoolbag filled with educational materials, including reading and coloring books, writing journals, a learning clock, a toothbrush, pencils, crayons, and of course, a teddy bear. Click here to learn more about these Operation Teddy Bear volunteers-in-action!
Last May, we asked you to make donations to support a number of projects. As a follow-up, we’ve created a progress report to show you what we were able to accomplish with your gifts. Click here to learn more and donate to help us continue these programs again through our 2017-2018 year!
We are proud to be a part of a citywide effort to promote volunteerism in Long Beach. Residents are encouraged to give back and donate time to helping the nonprofits in Long Beach and share their experiences with the hashtag #LBServes.