Community volunteers have been helping to provide food to residents who need aid. Photo Credit: City of Santa Monica.

Giving Tuesday, a popular day to donate to nonprofits and charities, has passed but a number of organizations throughout town are still looking for volunteers and funds that will allow them to help those who are in need this holiday season.

Families throughout the Westside are grappling with the news that they will be unable to attend their traditional dinners and holiday parties this year due to COVID. But community leaders said many other families are facing more pressing issues, which is why the City of Santa Monica is looking to help raise $30,000 that will be used to support families who are facing food insecurity.

The Food Pantry at Virginia Avenue Park has sustained local families throughout the pandemic and the need for meals has not decreased in the months since the pandemic began, Chief Communications Officer Debbie Lee said while the community fed 1,455 families during last week’s Giving Thanks(Giving) event at Santa Monica College.

“We’re trying to raise $30,000 to make sure 300 families receive fresh groceries every week through the end of the year,” Lee said. “We’ve been feeding families at the food pantry, which was started because of Covid, but it really opened our eyes to the need for food in the community.”

Every $100 donated feeds a family of four for a month, Lee added, “but we’re really just asking people to contribute whatever they can. It can be $25 for a week or $75 for three. If they have it in their hearts to donate more, it will definitely make a difference in a family’s holiday season.”

Interim City Manager Lane Dilg said the city is grateful to anyone who leans into the “We Are Santa Monica” spirit of giving through the Food Pantry donation drive or any other form of charity this December.

“The holidays are a time to show our care and support for families that are finding it harder to make ends meet during the pandemic,” she added.

To donate, residents are encouraged to visit calfund.org/wearesantamonica and select HOLIDAY FOOD PANTRY under Area of Support. Locals in need can also find more information about how to access the weekly food pantry services at Virginia Avenue Park by calling (424) 410-1354 or (310) 458-8688.

Residents who have limited funds but are still looking to get involved this holiday season are invited to consider spending their time volunteering with a nonprofit in Santa Monica. A complete list of organizations in need of assistance can be found online at bit.ly/GivingSM.

Brennon@smdp.com