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.
In addition to medically eliminating the reproductive capacities of the dogs it rescues—a procedure required by law in Los Angeles—Ace of Hearts provides the animals with veterinary care and places them in foster homes where trained individuals feed and nurture the dogs until they’re adopted. Ace of Hearts supplies these foster homes with canine essentials, including food, bedding, collars, and toys. Since its inception in 2001, the organization has rescued more than 2,000 dogs in the Los Angeles area, with more than 50 pups currently awaiting adoption.
TreePeople fosters environmental awareness in children from struggling public schools who might otherwise never have the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature. Each year, the organization guides 10,000 elementary school students through a charming urban forest in Coldwater Canyon Park, with more than 1,000 acres of canopied trails and native plantings. Spending time outside among living trees forges a connection with nature that can profoundly improve the quality of life of children residing in an urban landscape. Eco-tours invest students with a greater appreciation for the connections between trees, water, air, and soil and demonstrate that they can bring the calming simplicity and environmental benefits of the forest to their communities.
From 7 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, September 13, celebrities will play poker and party with guests 21 and older on the Petersen Automotive Museum’s rooftop overlooking the Hollywood Hills. Former NFL player Warren Sapp and actor Josh Henderson host the event, which in the past has featured such celebrities as Jason Alexander, Karina Smirnoff, and Slash from Guns N’ Roses. As DJ duo KimKat spins music, attendees mingle with the stars over complimentary finger foods and drinks, and compete in a poker tournament to see whose cards best soak up spilled beer. All proceeds from the fourth-annual event, which includes a silent auction, help benefit Lupus LA, a foundation dedicated to combatting lupus through research, awareness, and family services.
If you've ever stood on the second floor of the Los Angeles Central Public Library and marveled at the explosion of color within the rotunda or the 12 adjacent murals depicting California history, then you have the Los Angeles Conservancy to thank. When the library was scheduled for demolition in the mid-1970s, concerned citizens formed the Conservancy to save the rotunda, the exterior limestone sculptures, and the library's many other architectural treasures. The group finally convinced the City Council to preserve the library in 1983, after years of public discussion, debate, and book-sniffing sit-ins. Ever since, it has advocated for greater Los Angeles's historic sites and educated people about the city's architectural heritage. The Conservancy is responsible for saving and revitalizing landmarks such as the former Cathedral of St. Vibiana, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, and the world’s oldest remaining McDonald’s restaurant.
To accomplish its mission, the membership-based nonprofit offers a number of ways people can experience these beautiful and storied places. The Last Remaining Seats series earned a Reader Recommendation for Best Film Series and Best Downtown Event in the Los Angeles Downtown News' 2012 poll, in which the conservancy’s walking tours also earned the title of Best Downtown Tour. But the organization does more than save grandiose public buildings: increasingly, it also focuses on smaller community projects such as garden apartments and sites that reflect the area's rich Latino culture.
Executive director and 20-year Conservancy veteran Linda Dishman explained to Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times, "People are becoming more vocal. …That's one of the great secrets about Los Angeles: People really identify with their neighborhoods." The Conservancy also presents annual preservation awards to honor the efforts of individuals who fight to save places such as Pann’s Coffee Shop and Griffith Observatory.
Carolyn Sargent used art to escape the isolation of hearing loss as a child. Art therapist Elda Unger discovered the power of the arts to help emotionally heal abused children. Together they founded Free Arts for Abused Children, which promotes artistic expression for children who are homeless, have been abused, or are living in foster care. Free Arts maintains four programs, each designed to engage youth in creative self-expression and provide an outlet for strong emotions and troubling experiences. Long-term lessons with role models help youth learn from trustworthy adults; art days empower students to connect with peers and express themselves through new mediums; family art projects encourage interaction within the household; and arts and crafts sessions help distract youth waiting on proceedings at local courthouses.