Grilled or chilled, layered or wrapped, the chefs at The Original Sandbag's Gourmet Sandwiches uphold the age-old art of bread bundling as they craft a mélange of classic sandwiches alongside a complement of classic soups, sides, and desserts. Staffers load up the shop’s fluffy rolls or toasty bread slices with spiced cuts of turkey, saucy meatballs, and veggies before pairing each creation with a homemade chocolate-chip cookie, imbuing senses with nostalgia for days at mom’s house or late-night shindigs at Cookie Monster's mansion. Diners can take their bounty to go or linger at the restaurant, which features a lineup of indoor seating and a collection of patio tables soaking in the warm rays of the noonday sun.
In 1996, Food on Foot set up on the steps of the Hollywood Post Office, delivering its first chicken dinner out of the trunk of a car to neighbors experiencing homelessness. The organization quickly expanded and began serving meals every Sunday to increase food security among underserved residents. Today, Food on Foot serves that same meal of chicken, rice, and tortillas every week, as well as a variety of healthy snacks including granola bars, baby carrots, fresh fruit, and bottled water. It also distributes gently used clothing, shoes, and sleeping bags and business clothes for clients who have secured job interviews.
In 1999, Food on Foot began its Work for Food program, wherein volunteers pick up trash in the Hollywood area. Each volunteer fills two garbage bags and receives a $10 grocery-store gift card, healthy snacks, and a chicken dinner in return. After participating in the program for two months, volunteers are placed on a daily route to pick up trash while the program staff works to help them acquire a full-time job. Once participants find a job, Food on Foot funds an apartment, utilities, and transportation for three months while they become established in their new position. During this time, workers continue their daily trash route and turn in their paychecks to Food on Foot. At the end of the three-month period, they receive the uncashed checks to open a savings account.
Harvesting Happiness for Heroes supports veterans and their loved ones through workshops and family training as well as online community support and one-on-one coaching. To help address each veteran as a whole person—mind, body, and emotions—HH4Heroes provides a range of therapeutic services including meditation, positive-psychology tools, yoga, and healing arts such as massage and aromatherapy.
Kimberly Garsed founded Urban Dog Playcare to provide dog owners with a place to put their pets when they were otherwise engaged with work or play, thus making it possible for more people to welcome dogs into their families. Kimberly has more than 20 years of experience training dogs, and her core staff draws on more than 10 years of experience when attending to the health and happiness of their clients? canines. During playcare, four-legged friends roam around a 5,000-square-foot facility with five distinct play areas, two of which have a rubber surface to cushion dogs? feet and better facilitate their self-directed gymnastics competitions. Owners can keep tabs on their pooches through the facility's webcam, unless the staff and their charges have embarked on one of the frequent custom field trips to exotic, pet-friendly locales such as the Santa Monica Mountains.
Boarders visiting the hospitable facility eat nutritious meals and tire themselves out during vigorous walks before being escorted to slumberland by a skilled dog wrangler who continues to watch pets into the wee hours. Dogs sleep atop beds or blankets in kennel runs or crates with housemates. Because the dog wrangler stays with the doggies all night, the animals are never alone.
As a child in Buenos Aires, Angel Echeverria would sit on the porch of his family home and watch his aunt and uncle dance the tango. Music often spilled into the streets of his neighborhood, where many tango musicians lived. By the time he was a teenager in the early 1960s, Angel began studying the tango himself, and nearly 50 years later he founded The Tango Room Dance Center with Julie Friedgen. Like Angel, Julie grew up watching her parents’ Argentine friends dance tango at parties, and eventually became a ballet and flamenco dancer. Though she didn’t begin learning the tango until 13 years ago, once she started she immediately knew it was the dance to which she would devote the rest of her life.
Not surprisingly, The Tango Room is dedicated to the Argentine style of dance; many of the instructors hail from Argentina and lead classes in traditional, contemporary, waltz, and milonga variations. On Saturday nights the school transforms into El Encuentro—which translates to “the encounter”—a fast-paced dance party modeled after the tango clubs of Buenos Aires. Beyond tango, the school also hosts classes in salsa, belly dance, and R & B line dancing as well as Zumba and bujinkan, a Japanese martial art.
In 1998, 8-year-old Brandon was staying home from school with a cold. His mom took him to a board of directors meeting at the Hollygrove children’s home, where people were discussing how to build a library for the 60 youths who lived there. Once he got back to school, he started telling his friends that kids at the orphanage needed books, and asked them to donate the ones they had outgrown. On the last day of school before winter break, Brandon surprised his mom as she drove to pick him up—he was standing on the sidewalk surrounded by hundreds of books for the kids. Because they had more books than the children’s home needed, Brandon’s mom started knocking on doors to give the extra books away to children without books. Their combined efforts started BookEnds to help all children experience the joy of reading.
Today, Bookends gathers recycled children’s books and distributes them through student-run book drives at local schools. The students select only high-quality books that will inspire youth to read, then sort and personally deliver the donations. Since its inception, more than 220,000 students have been involved in organizing drives, delivering more than 2.1 million books to 520,000 underserved children.