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What You Can Do . . .

. . . to feed the hungry, help a child, inspire a teenager, cheer the lonely or befriend a senior.


The holidays can be a grim time of the year for those less fortunate--people who are ill or shut in, families who cannot afford to celebrate. What follows is a list of some nonprofit groups that help others and could use the public's help in turn. If you don't see your neighborhood or area of interest listed, contact your county or city volunteer agencies.


* For the 40 teens and dozen infants and toddlers at the Florence Crittenton Center in Los Angeles, pick from this list: clock radios, bathrobes, earrings, perfume, cameras, blow-dryers, finger paints, toddler educational toys and clothing (sizes 2 to 5), rattles and teething rings. Information: (213) 225-4211.

* Children 2 days to 17 years old at the Orangewood Children's Home in Orange need dress clothes (especially for boys), bathrobes, pajamas, jeans, underwear, sweaters, sporting equipment and gift certificates from Target, Mervyn's or Kmart. Information: (714) 935-7584.

* Approximately 2,000 children each year are clothed at the Centere Clothes Corner in San Fernando. Holiday needs include new children's clothing, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, combs and brushes. Information: (818) 785-4134.

* Holiday gifts, toys, gift certificates and canned goods are being collected for abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children at the San Fernando Valley Child Guidance Clinic in Northridge. Unwrapped gifts are needed for children and adolescents. The annual Holiday Drive begins Monday and continues through Dec. 19. Information: Jo Devine, (818) 993-9311.

* Walking Shield American Indian Society is looking for donations for its 10th annual Holiday Gift Drive. Most needed are gifts for boys and girls 11 to 18. Some ideas: personal hygiene items, art supplies, watches and sweatshirts. To ensure delivery by the holidays, your donation should be at the Walking Shield in Tustin by Dec. 1. Information: (714) 573-1434.

* The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services' Volunteer Services Program is asking community support for "Operation Santa Claus" for victims of abuse and neglect. More than 4,000 gifts are sought for children and elderly dependent adults. Items include toys and gift certificates. Deadline for donations is Dec. 10. Information: (909) 358-3625 or (800) 488-9494.

* Abused, abandoned and neglected children are helped at Five Acres in Altadena. The center wants to provide them with items including food baskets, grocery and store gift certificates, diapers and new clothes. Information: (818) 798-6793, Ext. 2702.

* At-risk children, the homeless and needy families throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties are helped by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles Inc. Needed are toys, clothing for boys and girls 7 to 14, diapers and formula, nonperishable foods, and blankets, sleeping bags and jackets for homeless adults. Information: (800) 974-3571.

* Volunteers can help Santa and his elves organize and distribute more than 7,000 gifts to underprivileged children in the Pasadena area on Dec. 24. It's "Operation Santa," sponsored by the Pasadena Junior Chamber of Commerce. New toys are also needed. Information: (818) 792-5146.

* Los Angeles Teens on Target, a community- and school-based violence-prevention program in Downey, is seeking new toys to distribute to needy children. Information: Veronica Minjarez, (310) 401-8166.

* Holiday gift-wrappers are needed by the Boys & Girls Club of Venice in its annual Holiday Gift Wrap Booth at the Fox Hills Mall. Hours are weekdays from 1 to 7 p.m. and weekends from noon to 7 p.m. Training will be provided. Information: Fernie Ramos, (310) 391-6301.

* Intercommunity Child Guidance Center in Whittier will sponsor its fifth annual Holiday Sharing of Gifts on Dec. 16, providing toys for the children served by the agency. Information: Charlene Dimas-Peinado, (310) 692-0383.

* Recreation and learning activities bring confidence and independence to blind and visually impaired youth through the Foundation for the Junior Blind. Holiday gifts of new musical toys, cassettes, board games, sports equipment are asked. Information: Veronica Behning, (213) 295-4555, Ext. 237.

* More than 800 children are fed through Children's Home Society of California. New, unwrapped toys for boys and girls of all ages are being collected at First United Methodist Church in Long Beach for distribution Dec. 11. Pickup of toys is available. Information: (310) 901-3145.

* Among the holiday needs of Great Beginnings for Black Babies in Los Angeles are baby clothes, crib sheets, towels, baby food, formula, toiletries, blankets, bottles, car seats and strollers. Information: (310) 657-7115.

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