A Month of Big Sundays – Dozens of Local Volunteer and Service Projects!

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For many years, Big Sunday was a single Sunday in May on which hundreds of local churches, schools, temples, and other non-profit organizations held volunteer events to help people, do good work and build a sense of community.  But it became so popular that “Big Sunday” soon expanded to a three-day weekend each year, with even more projects, and even more volunteers.

And then, last year, Big Sunday – which is now also a non-profit corporation pairing volunteers with organizations that need them all year round – busted wide open and became the “Month of Big Sundays,” with volunteer projects happening every single day in May, all over the L.A. area.  The organization is still based in our neighborhood, however, and a great many of the projects are also located within a convenient distance for many of our readers.  So if you’re looking to have a great time doing something wonderful, any day this month, consider signing up for a great Big Sunday event. (Note: Big Sunday events also provide a great opportunity for high school students looking for official community service hours.)

Here are the most local Big Sunday projects for this week (at least the ones still looking for volunteers)…and we’ll list more later, as the month goes on.  Just click on the links below to sign up…or – if you want to do more, have a specific interest not represented here, or would like to travel a bit further – go to the full Month of Big Sundays calendar to see what else is happening in other parts of the city and/or a bit later in May!

Mid-town LA Big Sunday events for May 2-7:

Write Letters to Women Recently Diagnosed with Cancer for Girls Love Mail
May 2 @ 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM, at the Big Sunday office, 6111 Melrose Ave.
Join Big Sunday to help write hundreds of letters for Girls Love Mail. Girls Love Mail collects hand-written letters of encouragement, bundles them, and sends them, via the caring staff at cancer centers, to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Donate Items to Big Sunday’s theBIGlist
May 3 @ 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, 6111 Melrose Ave.
Every week Big Sunday hears from people in the community who have things to give away – everything from dining room sets to pianos to theater tickets. At the same time, the group’s non-profit partners also call with emergency needs – everything from beds to clothes to clerical help. Big Sunday has happily played matchmaker for a long time with its online theBIGlist! Each Wednesday in May there will be an open house for folks to drop off items to be posted on theBIGlist and donated to nonprofits needing items.

Help Out at Big Sunday’s TM@10
May 4 @ 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM, 6111 Melrose Ave.
Big Sunday launched TM@10 the summer of 2013 for just a few weeks, but the program was so popular, they started doing them every week. Here’s the deal: Each Thursday morning, from 10 – 11:30 a.m., Big Sunday hosts host a service project at its offices on Melrose. They’ve done everything from assembling birthday gifts for folks in shelters (so that everyone there will have something to open on their birthday) to writing letters to soldiers stationed overseas to making quilts for preemies. This week they will be making paper mache flower pots for seniors.

Help Prepare a BBQ Lunch for Youth at My Friend’s Place
May 4 @ 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at My Friend’s Place, 5850 Hollywood Boulevard
My Friend’s Place in Hollywood serves homeless youth (ages 12-25) and their children and helps to inspire clients to build self-sufficient lives. My Friend’s Place is recruiting volunteers 18 and older with a knack for cooking and a heart to serve to help prepare an amazing home-cooked BBQ meal for approximately 150 youth clients. Come, hang out and help organize a lunch with love for many grateful young people at My Friend’s Place.

Join Big Sunday and Support Our Emergency Fund at Our First Ever Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour!
May 5 @ 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM, 6111 Melrose Ave.
Join Big Sunday for a fun grown-up Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour to benefit The Emergency Fund, which helps nice people without a safety net get through a bad patch. Recently, Big Sunday helped pay for a new bed and linens for a little girl with a brain tumor who had been sleeping on the floor; a new refrigerator for a struggling family with a special needs child; and the electrical bill for a senior so that she could run her air conditioner during a heat wave. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door which will help families and individuals currently needing support through the Emergency Fund. Happy Hour festivities will include music, Mexican inspired food and drinks, games and interactive activities. Not to be missed!

Pitch In at Shenandoah Elementary School’s Beautification Day
May 6 @ 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Shenandoah Elementary School, 2450 Shenandoah Street
Shenandoah Elementary School is gearing up for a huge beautification day! They are in need of volunteers to help with gardening, landscaping and doing some general cleaning around campus to make their school even more beautiful for their students.

Pitch In at Normandie Ave. Elementary’s Beautification Day
May 6 @ 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM, 4505 S. Raymond Street
Wanna help a great school? Normandie Ave. Elementary needs volunteers who like to work in the dirt and also those who can help finish painting a large, half-finished mural. (You should see it, it will be amazing when its done!) All supplies will be provided, so all you will need to do is show up! Landscapers and artsy folks are welcomed as well as those who can roll up their sleeves to clean classrooms and hallways.

Refresh the El Paseo Walkway with the Adams-Normandie Neighborhood Association
May 6 @ 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 1650 W. 23rd Street
Team up with the Adams-Normandie Neighborhood Association for its Community Cleanup & Beautification Effort! Activities will include the cleanup of the El Paseo Walkway, weeding, planting of new drought tolerant plants, removal of dead plants; graffiti removal from the surrounding areas and streets and more. Volunteers ages 16 dn up are welcome to participate.

Pitch In at Ramona Elementary School’s Beautification Project
May 6 @ 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 1133 N. Mariposa Avenue
Join Big Sunday’s old pals at Ramona Elementary School for another amazing Big Sunday collaboration. This year they plan to tackle lots of cleaning and gardening around campus. They would love volunteers to help plant drought-tolerant gardens where there is currently just dirt. They would like to deep clean the stairwells in the main building and hallways, vacuum and dust the library and the computer lab, and much more!

Help Clean Trains with Travel Town Museum Foundation
May 6 @ 10:00 AM, 5200 Zoo Drive 90027
The mission of the Travel Town Museum Foundation is to educate the public about railroad history as it pertains to the development of the Southwest Region of the United States, particularly the Los Angeles area. They fulfill this mission by supporting the restoration, operation, and interpretation of the historic railroad equipment at the City-operated Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park. They hope to have a group of volunteers come out to the campus and help with some general maintenance. They are need of volunteers to help clean off trains, provide general clean up and gardening.

Join West Adams Avenue’s Neighborhood Association for a Community Cleanup
May 6 @ 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, 2535 7th Avenue 90018
West Adams Avenue’s Neighborhood Association goal is to beautify and enhance the local West Adams neighborhood by providing stakeholders disposal bins to clean out their residences, garages, and yards and throw out unwanted items. The work will reduce clutter, create goodwill, and help increase well-being among the people of the neighborhood and get everyone ready for a great beginning of a new Spring. Roll up your sleeves and help with this great cleanup project!

Pitch In & Play at Home-SAFE’s Annual Fair
May 6 @ 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 6926 Melrose Avenue, 90038
Home-SAFE is hosting their annual fair for clients that includes a dental screening clinic by the USC Champ Team, health fair, arts and crafts projects, healthy snacks and a petting zoo experience. Volunteers ages 8 and up are welcomed to help run the fair’s many stations and ensure clients have a great time. Spanish-speaking volunteers are a plus.

Take Part in the Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District’s Clean-up Day
May 7 @ 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 1700 N. Hillhurst Avenue, 90027
Join the Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District for a huge neighborhood clean-up! Volunteers are invited to pitch in on this beautification effort in Los Feliz Village, a unique district known for its fiercely independent, creative spirit as well as its diverse businesses like familiar restaurants and services and vintage and collectibles shops. Come on out and make certain this neighborhood gem –– that is neatly tucked between Griffith Park and Barnsdall Art Park –– maintains its quiet charm.

Enjoy Bingo ‘N Bagels at Canters Deli!
May 7 @ 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, 419 N. Fairfax Ave. 90036
Canters Deli is an L.A. institution and has been a Big Sunday supporter for years. This year they’re providing a special morning for the 6th Annual Bingo ‘n Bagels. They’ll be hosting their friends, the women of the Downtown Women’s Center, among others. If you like schmears, schmoozing, or you’re just plain friendly, come on by!

Stay tuned for more great events over the next few weeks!

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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