Volunteer opportunities are available this holiday season with three Downtown organizations devoted to helping those in need.  

Urban Community Outreach (UCO), Christian Outreach In Action (COA) and the Long Beach Rescue Mission (LBRM) offer holiday cheer and a variety of basic services, and each relies heavily on volunteers to make its programs successful.  

 “We encourage people to contribute money or items to organizations that serve persons experiencing homelessness, but some would rather donate time in direct service, ” said Steve Be Cotte, Community Outreach Manager for DLBA.  “Please consider these downtown organizations if you wish to volunteer as opposed to going to parks and other places where people experiencing homelessness gather to pass out food.”

 “This activity,” continued Be Cotte, “however well-meaning and gratifying, does nothing to connect those people to services where they can obtain further support and move toward permanent housing, when they make that decision. Empower the homeless person, not the homeless lifestyle.

 

On Sundays, Urban Community Outreach has been providing a Downtown community center at the First Congregational Church for the homeless and the working poor since 2006.  Guests get a hot meal served by volunteers and access to clothing and other supplies, personal consultation with a UCO case manager, a 10-workstation computer lab, and once-a-month visits from volunteer doctors and nurses.  

 

Christian Outreach in Action is looking for volunteers for two special Thanksgiving meal services—one available for everyone, the second especially for senior citizens.  COA also needs volunteers to help sort donated canned goods for its kitchen and food banks at their 515 East Third Street facility. COA, whose other services include a mobile children’s health clinic, a legal clinic and banks for food and clothing, has been helping people in Long Beach for thirty-eight years.  

 

The Long Beach Rescue Mission offers volunteer opportunities from serving meals to teaching classes to conducting music workshops and many more.  LBRM has served thousands of men, women and children in Long Beach since 1972. It is comprised of two residences; the Samaritan House, for men, and Lydia House, for women and their children.  

 

DLBA invites you to visit these websites, learn more about these organizations and give generously of your time and money.  As it says on the Long Beach Rescue Mission home page, “Be part of something bigger than yourself. Volunteer!”