Thanksgiving has always been a time for family and friends to come together and give thanks. The push to turn the holiday’s focus from gratitude into a shopping frenzy is generating a nationwide pushback, as communities and individuals look for ways to opt out of “Black Friday” madness and give back, instead of paying out.
There are dozens of local charities and nonprofits in the local community that could use a helping hand this holiday season. Donations are always welcome, many groups are also desperately in need of volunteers. Here is a list of some of our favorite local organizations, and for a fun and easy way to share some holiday spirit with a child in need, don’t miss Topanga’s First Annual Toy Drive, on Saturday November 30, at Topanga Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The organizers of the event are asking for new unwrapped toys to be dropped off on that date. All toys will be donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Local Community Organizations
Topanga Community Center (TCC) (topangacommunityclub.com)—TCC and its seniors group, Canyon Sages welcome donations but are especially in need of volunteers. Topanga Community Center is located at 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290. https://topangacommunitycenter.wildapricot.org
Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC)—You have probably chosen to live in Topanga because of its beautiful environment filled with wildlife and amazing parklands. In contrast, much of L.A. County has lost these qualities and succumbed to suburban sprawl. It is not an accident that Topanga has not. TASC has been on the frontlines in the fight for Topanga’s rural integrity for 54 years. Become a member: Dues for one year are: Individual, $15; Family, $20. Donations are always welcome. For more information and to donate: TASC, P.O. Box 352, Topanga Ca. 90290; tasc4topanga.org.
American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California provides scholarships for Native American students, including members of the Tongva community, Topanga’s first people. “If you shop Ralphs and hook your rewards card to AISFSC, our students benefit,” says long-time Topangan and Hoopa Indian Kat High. www.aisfsc.org/
Move the World (MTW ) is a Topanga non-profit dance performance troupe for ages 9-21, led by 25-year Topanga resident and choreographer, Cecilie Stuart. MTW performs and activates for the issues of Youth Homelessness, Ocean Preservation, LGBTQ Rights, and Plastic Pollution solutions and more. Please volunteer and donate today to keep up dancing. Visit: movetheworldnow.com.
Floating Doctors’ Mission is to reduce the present and future burden of disease in the developing world, and to promote improvements in health care delivery worldwide. This non-profit volunteer organization, founded by Topangan Ben LaBrot, with help from his sister, Sky, accomplishes their mission by sending medical teams into some of the poorest and most inaccessible parts of the world.To donate or learn about volunteering. http://floatingdoctors.com
Topanga Women’s Circle—TWC is an organization of volunteer women who help the neediest of families by furnishing their new housing with the little necessities we take for granted. By providing new and like-new items, we help create an environment of comfort, warmth and dignity. They work with two community housing organizations: Westwood Transitional Village and Venice Community Housing. TWC purchases and receives donations of new bedding, bathroom towels, rugs, personal and cleaning products, kitchen supplies, non-perishable food items, infant and toddler clothing and age-appropriate books and toys, and gently used lamps, rugs and tchotchkes that help turn a bare-bones space into a home. topangawomenscircle.org
PROTECTING AND PRESERVING THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS
The Santa Monica Mountains Fund provides an opportunity for the public to get involved by contributing to programs that protect our local mountains. Programs include fundraising efforts to restore damage, address the use of rat poisons that, when used to kill rats around your home, moves up the food chain and endangers hawks, owls, bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions who feed on them. The Fund is asking that people take a pledge to Break the Chain of Poison. Target your support to General Wildlife Support, The Mountain Lion Project, or the Wildlife Corridor Project. samofund.org.
Poison Free Malibu is working to eliminate toxic rodenticides from the Santa Monica Mountains and the entire state of California. These poisons are responsible for the recent death of two local mountain lions and have been found in the bloodstream of almost every mountain lion tested. poisonfreemalibu.org
Topanga Animal Rescue —Topanga Animal Rescue is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to providing immediate medical field triage and transportation for wounded and abandoned animals in the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley area. Donate online or by mail to Topanga Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 1012, Topanga, CA 90290. Donations of food, discounts, materials for the all-volunteer crew are also welcome. Topangaanimalrescue.com
The Nature of Wildworks is a celebration of all the remarkable diverse creatures with whom we are privileged to share this life on earth. This Topanga Canyon nonprofit is dedicated to the lifetime quality care of non-releasable wild animals. Their wildlife care center houses such diverse species as mountain lions, bobcats, gray fox, barn owl, and many other birds and mammals, most of which are native to the California environment. Their mission is to provide wildlife educational programs and publications teaching people to coexist safely and humanely with wildlife. natureofwildworks.org
Fixnation was founded by Topanga resident Karn Myers and her late husband, Mark Dodge, FixNation remains steadfastly focused on achieving its mission of reducing the population of homeless cats in Los Angeles, reducing the suffering of cats on the streets and subsequent euthanasia in municipal shelters. Through its programs, this non-profit organization has sterilized more than 150,000 cats. More than 80 percent of every dollar goes directly to programs and services to help homeless cats. fixnation.org
Best Friends Animal Society LA is working collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals who are dedicated to the mission of making Los Angeles a no-kill city. As part of this mission, Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events, runs the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay Neuter Center in Mission Hills, and leads the No Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative. To learn more about adopting, fostering, or donating: Michellesathe@bestfriends.org.
The Los Angeles County Care Foundation is a non-profit fundraising that supports the care of animals in Los Angeles County animal shelters. Funds raised by the foundation support spay and neuter programs, pet adoptions, public education, and animal welfare. Many of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts have enabled the department to enhance the care given to animals in the County animal care centers. The County of Los Angeles’ Department of Animal Care and Control is the largest animal sheltering organization in the nation, caring for 60,000 animals each year in seven animal care centers located throughout Los Angeles County. The Department serves all unincorporated Los Angeles County as well as 47 incorporated cities within the County that contract with the Department for services. Learn more at countyanimals.org/give/.