This weekend, from Dec. 8 through Dec.11, The Giving Spirit will host their Winter Outreach program.

The Giving Spirit has been an effective space and teaching tool for young volunteers to realize the reality of the unseen homelessness in local communities. TGS founder, Tom Bagamane and his Board have recently put together a new education and community program to launch on Saturday Dec. 10th during the 17th Annual Winter Outreach event.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development named Los Angeles for the second year in a row, the number one city for chronic homelessness, with growth in youth homelessness being the largest contributors.

“TGS works with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and several shelters as distribution points for the survival kits,” said TGS spokesperson. “The LAHSA picks up some of the homeless in the Santa Monica and Venice area to offer them winter aid in shelters.”

This year TGS will be working with Mike Bonin, representative of the 11th District on the Los Angeles City Council. Bonin is one of many who were pleased that Measure HHH passed last month. A $1.2 billion bond funded by 29 years of increased property taxes that would be spent on building 10,000 units of housing for the homeless over the course of ten years.

Ultimately the measure is intended to provide the final piece of funding. Now it will be up to local developers to work with various neighborhoods on the types of housing that best fits for the communities.

At the TGS event, there will be three headlining sessions, first “Kids Teaching Kids”, which will allow children to educate the audience on homelessness as seen through their eyes. Also a session called “Back from the Brink”, were a panel of several formerly homeless citizens will share their stories.

After will be “The State of the Unsheltered in LA”, a town hall session with Councilman Bonin. He will talk about his experience with his unique perspective along with providing everyone with the most recent updates on how Los Angeles is dealing with the homelessness issue.

TGS was founded 17 years ago, and last year they put together 4,700 kits together. The winter kit is tailored to the season and will contain over 65 life saving items in one single duffle bag.

“TGS was built to serve not only the homeless, but also serve society as well. Therefore, creating an educational platform grounded in understanding, acknowledgment and grace – all to eliminate as much judgment as possible out of the process of confronting the community crisis that is homelessness in America,” said TGS spokesperson.

According to TGS, nearly three out of four people are homeless in Los Angeles and living in an unsheltered environment. People are becoming homeless faster than they can be housed, and lack of affordable housing is the single most important factor driving homelessness.

“TGS volunteers are not only caretakers of today but also caretakers of the future,” said TGS spokesperson. “If our children want to end homelessness they must remove societal filters and rely on the firsthand knowledge of the root causes of homelessness.”

At the event there will be volunteers assembling kits as they continue to aid to vulnerable and fragile lives. This is a three-day event, at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church, 12000 San Vicente Blvd. Sunday will be on the streets and visiting various homeless shelters to distribute kits.

-Friday, Dec. 9th 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

-Saturday, Dec. 10th 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
-Sunday, Dec. 11th 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

For any further information or questions you can contact Kenneth Wei at (323) 868-2887 and to volunteer you can visit http://www.thegivingspirit.org/volunteer.

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