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How to help the unemployed: Five tips

October 09, 2011|By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
  • Needy Coloradans receive free groceries last week in Pueblo, Colo. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank needs folks to assemble food packages for the poor and needy.
Needy Coloradans receive free groceries last week in Pueblo, Colo. The… (John Moore, Getty Images )

Nearly 2.2 million people are unemployed in California. While some of them have savings and family to support them, others are struggling. If you wish to reach out and help those hurt by the weak economy, here are five ways to lend a hand.

Help them network. Friends and family can be "invaluable resources" for job seekers, noted Linda Rolie, author of "Getting Back to Work." You may be able to provide job leads, practice interviewing techniques or simply help them brainstorm for work ideas.

Listen. Author Michael Laskoff, who describes losing multiple jobs in his book, "Landing on the Right Side of Your Ass," said his first move after a layoff was "to seek out the one person who can patiently listen to the retelling of the whole wretched affair."

Volunteer. Many organizations gladly accept help. A notable one is the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which needs folks to assemble food packages for the poor and needy. No time to volunteer? You can donate food or give money instead.

Donate clothing. Scores of organizations collect clothing for the needy. "Next time you do your spring or fall cleaning, keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear. If these items are in good shape, gather them together and donate them," suggested the website JustGive.org.

Build. Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people earning 30% to 80% of the median family income. Go to http://www.habitatla.org for local volunteer and donation opportunities.

scott.wilson@latimes.com

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