It’s the season of giving! With the winter holidays fast approaching, now’s the perfect chance to give back to Santa Monica and show our local community some love. Luckily, from grabbing a bite at your favorite breakfast spot to ordering a cup of the best coffee in Santa Monica, this city has options left and right when it comes to finding ways to show local support. But besides shopping small, there are also tons of charities and non-profits based right here in Santa Monica that are on a mission to make a powerful and positive impact through community engagement. So, whether you’re looking to donate items, time, or money, here’s a list of some amazing organizations you can work with to show up for our very own Santa Monica this holiday season. 

1) Westside Food Bank 

Headquartered in Santa Monica, Westside Food Bank is working to end food insecurity in the Western Los Angeles area by providing free nutritious foods to those in need and advocating for related public policy changes. But combating food insecurity is also so much more than feeding individuals experiencing hunger- it’s about prioritizing the well-being of our community. Food keeps us strong, mentally and physically, so by assisting our food-insecure neighbors, we’re helping to create a Santa Monica where we can all thrive.

If you’re interested in helping WSFB provide meals to Santa Monicans in need, check out their website for more information on volunteer opportunities, donations, and special events. 

2) The Giving Spirit

As the weather continues to get colder, you might be interested in working with an organization like The Giving Spirit. Since 1999, The Giving Spirit has assembled survival kits to distribute to individuals experiencing homelessness in LA County, including Santa Monica. These kits include tons of essentials, like food, hygiene items, clothing, blankets, and medicine to help them combat the harsh elements of winter. To this day, this organization has done tremendous work to give the Santa Monica homeless community the supplies they need to survive, as well as compassion and hope during a difficult time. 

If you’d like to help fund a survival kit, you can learn more about donating on their website.

3) Step Up 

Step Up focuses its efforts on providing assistance to those battling serious mental health issues, addiction, and homelessness in our community. Their goal is to get these individuals on a path to recovery by offering permanent housing, supportive group classes covering topics from money management, cooking, creative activities, and more, and employment preparation services. By giving these individuals a place to call home, a sense of belonging, stability, and an encouraging support system, Step Up is able to help reintegrate them back into our community and lead healthier lives. 

There are many ways you can help Step Up in its mission to uplift and help Santa Monicans experiencing homelessness. You can read more here about all of the ways you can get involved with this wonderful organization. 

4) Chrysalis 

Chrysalis is dedicated to guiding those experiencing homelessness, as well as at-risk individuals, to independence and security through employment. They believe that confidence, morale, and a strong support group are key to self-transformation, which is why Chrysalis offers access to resources like business professional clothing, a computer lab, job application assistance, resume writing services, employment prep classes, practice interviews, and more. By working with Chrysalis, you can help reduce poverty levels in the community and get Santa Monicans on a path to stability and fulfillment by giving them the tools they need to find work. 

Chrysalis offers volunteer opportunities, and accepts monetary donations as well as gently used business casual clothing, new socks and underwear, hygiene products, and face masks. They also have an Amazon wishlist stocked with items that are always in demand at their office. Head over to their website to learn more. 

5) Heal The Bay 

Heal the Bay first opened its doors in 1985 as a nonprofit organization on a mission to protect LA’s watersheds and coastline. This program uses advocacy, science-based education, and volunteer work to take climate action, protect our community’s health, and make a positive impact on the environment. While teaming up with them, you can be sure that you’re doing your part to keep important native Santa Monican ecosystems as safe and healthy as possible. 

You can get involved with Heal the Bay’s mission by donating to their cause or participating in one of their monthly beach clean-ups. Read more here.

Give Back to Santa Monica

Santa Monicans have always been a tight-knit group ready to stand behind one another. It’s just part of our shared character that makes our community so incredible. It’s why most of us would rather shop from small businesses, like getting a coffee from the local Santa Monica coffee shop, to show our support for our neighbors. But the best part of community engagement is that it’s allowed Santa Monica as a whole to evolve into an area that’s grounded in compassion, equity, and justice and move forward towards a better version of itself. So if you find yourself with extra time to spare this holiday season and want to keep that Santa Monican spirit of giving alive, consider working with one of these amazing organizations on their mission to give back to this wonderful city we call home. 

You can read on how to organize a local beach cleanup here. How to Organize a Local Beach Cleanup – EcoWatch

This blog is brought to you by Dogtown Coffee, a Santa Monica coffee shop and home of the iced salty dog.