This morning, instead of working at our computers in our comfortable Santa Monica office, about 40 people from my company descended on MEND, or Meet Each Need with Dignity. MEND, a nonprofit in a rough part of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, helps people and families in need with clothing, food, medical and dental care, and educational programs.
|The bulletin board near MEND's food bank offers nutritional information and healthy recipes|
|Food boxes ready for MEND clients|
|MEND serves both local families and homeless people|
|MEND gets a lot of donations from local Trader Joe's stores|
|Bread waiting for a home|
|MEND's food storage facility is huge - boxes piled up to the ceilings|
|The federal government supplies some of the canned goods MEND distributes|
|Filling boxes with cereal, beans, canned vegetables and milk|
|Food bank assistant director Luke Ippoliti in the volunteer-maintained MEND vegetable garden|
|Some food goes straight to the dumpster - it's spoiled by the time MEND gets it|
I feel lucky to work for a company that considers it important enough to give back to the world that it's willing to pay a few dozen people to spend a day at a place like MEND. Next time I go, I'm taking my kids.
If you live in Los Angeles, MEND needs your help. November and December, leading up to the holidays, are their busiest time. Contact volunteer services director Lupe Martin, (818) 896-0246 x7327 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They'll put you to work and use your time well.