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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.
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.
Maria D'Angelo believes in the Hope Effect. She arrived to America on a freighter from Italy, searching for a better life with her family, and to this day she remembers how much hope filled her at that moment. To share this sense of positive possibility, she began The Children's Lifesaving Foundation, which through countless acts has improved the lives of families and children living below the poverty level. The organization assists homeless families in finding apartments, provides tutoring services, and raises money for college tuition. And the team's works are so renowned that they've been featured in People magazine and on CNN, and were voted the 2013 Non-Profit of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Although today The CLF works to establish housing and educational opportunities for underserved families, Maria's quest began with a much simpler gesture. In 1992, while volunteering at a homeless shelter, she met an 8-year-old boy who never attended school because his mother couldn't afford to get him a physical. So Maria took him to a doctor. That one act, blossomed into other simple acts, which blossomed into the founding of The CLF, but the spirit of that simplicity remains. To improve homeless kids' quality of life, the organization runs a summer camp with surfing lessons, which leave children with a good memory and a bit of hope.
Step inside Naam Yoga LA and immediately breathe in the healing energy. Around every corner, sunlight pours down from the 17-foot ceilings, and beautiful photographs and paintings of temples from all over the world provide inspiration. In the upstairs sanctuary, healers offer acupuncture, massage, and Kabbalah consultations.
But the jewel in the crown is the main yoga studio, a massive space with room for 310 practitioners. Cutting-edge Whisperwave sound panels hang from the ceiling, preventing obtrusive echoes during group chants and improving acoustics during the studio's concert events.
Heal One World empowers people with the knowledge and techniques to help themselves. Through classes, the organization teaches people skills and natural, noninvasive treatments they can use to ameliorate illness and injury and prevent further ailments from arising. Most of these classes impart self-help techniques and are therefore not covered by insurance, so the organization provides them on a sliding scale. Its programs range from yoga and tai chi to acupuncture and Feldenkrais treatments, drawing from ancient, time-tested practices that have often been cast to the wayside by Western culture. Heal One World also maintains a database of care providers who help people from low-income backgrounds attain stability of mind and body.
Yet beyond the individual, Heal One World focuses on strengthening the community. On weekends, it organizes vegan potlucks and film screenings on green opportunities and charity projects, and every May it holds a film, music, and arts festival in order to raise awareness of pressing environmental issues and include the community in artistic endeavors.