The holidays are almost here, and we at Brave Dog are quickly getting into the spirit. With the excitement for trees, tinsel, and those crazy sweet seasonal lattes at the Starbucks under our office comes a desire to find ways to give back to our community here in Hollywood.
This year, we’re again participating in a few programs we found and have really loved over the last few years. These include Toys for Tots through the Taft building, and Be An Elf, a program we first discovered last year. Here’s some info on what we’ve got planned for December giving, in case you’re interested in learning more and joining in.
Brave Dog annually participates in the Taft Building’s Toys for Tots program here at Hollywood and Vine, but last year we discovered a program with a bit more of a personal touch. It was such an all-around positive experience that we’re thrilled to participate again this year.
“Operation: Santa,” or “Be An Elf,” encourages kids from families in need to write letters to Santa Claus and send them to the post office. Expertly run by the U.S. Postal service, the handwritten letters are then passed on to volunteers who are able to fulfill the requests and make a child’s holiday magical. The letters are cute and earnest, asking for a wide variety of toys (and often gifts for brothers, sisters and parents, as well). Answering them is pretty exciting and definitely heartwarming.
(It’s worth noting here that children and their families don’t have to be “Christian” or observe the Santa tradition to participate. The program is open to all religions and backgrounds.)
Last year, Operation: Santa gave us a chance to give back in a way that was a little more personal and involved than some other holiday charities, and we really enjoyed it. Since it’s run through the postal service, the program is available in several locations throughout the country, usually in larger cities.
For more information about how you can adopt a letter of your own or donate to the program, check out beanelf.org. If there’s no post office branch for Operation: Santa near you, there are other ways to help out with the program as well. Find that info right here: beanelf.org/other-ways-to-be-an-elf.
Meanwhile, in Columbia…
Brave Dog is collaborating with the “Group of Friends of the Red Cross” in the town of Cartago, Valle, to help give a “Christmas Evening” to a group of 25 children, all of whom are afflicted with chronic or incurable health issues.
Together with “Programa Hogar,” we are collecting toys, books, backpacks, clothes, toiletries and many other items that will help these kids, and the people who care for them. Scheduled for Dec. 16, the event will also include dinner for the kids and their families. Brave Dog’s contribution will help with the purchase of a wheelchair for one of the girls in the group.
The “Group of Friends of the Red Cross” is a group of former Red Cross volunteers who have been involved in social projects for the past 37 years. The Red Cross is an organization that does an incredible amount of good year round, and it’s always worth supporting. There’s more Red Cross donation info available on its website, redcross.org.
We hope you have a great holiday season, and if you can, we hope you’ll join us in finding ways to give back to the community. And as always, keep being creative!