The holidays may be over, but anytime is a good time to spread a little cheer. From serving up hot meals at a nearby shelter to spending time with local kids or volunteering as a motivational speaker, the following L.A.-based organizations can always benefit from a helping hand. What better way to jumpstart 2017 than by giving back?

Union Rescue Mission

This past August, The Agency spent an afternoon preparing and serving up lunch to the homeless at Union Rescue Mission, and it was, by far, one of the most rewarding experiences of our year. Founded 125 years ago, the organization offers a variety of programs designed to provide the city’s homeless and hungry with guidance, support, and hope for a better future. A blog_unionmission-480x240benefit of many of these programs, such as the Life-Transformation Program, is assistance with gaining employment, education, and job training. In fact, many of the program’s participants eventually become direct hires at the Union Rescue Mission. The Mission offers a number of volunteer opportunities at their main campus, ranging from meal service to shooting hoops with kids.

Food On Foot

Every Sunday, for the past 20 years, Food on Foot and its volunteers have distributed hot meals to as many as 200 individuals and families each week in the Hollywood area. In addition to their meals program, the nonprofit also offers a unique Work for Food program, providing participants with life skills education, job training, full-time employment, and affordable housing. Volunteers may sign up online to distribute food and clothing any Sunday at the organization’s Hollywood location, or join the $98 club, a membership with a monthly contribution that helps fund Food on Foot’s Work for Food Program.

APLA Health

Guided by the mission to achieve health care equity and promote well-being for the LGBT and other underserved communities, as well as people living with and affected by HIV, APLA Health offers a variety of integral programs that improve access to care and support and treat those living with HIV. From making a charitable donation, to bagging groceries, or helping with any number of the organization’s fundraisers such as AIDS Walk Los Angeles, there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference.

volunteer_1Midnight Mission

Founded in 1914, The Midnight Mission offers programs for men, women, and children to help get them off the streets and back on their feet. The organization’s services range from healthy living advocacy and health and wellness programs to an education center, job readiness programs, and traditional housing. Guided by three core values: to offer the 12-Step approach to recovery; serve people experiencing homelessness with empathy and respect; and provide services as an independent human service organization, The Midnight Mission is a commendable organization. Volunteer opportunities include meal service in their onsite kitchen, clothing distribution, assembling food boxes and hygiene kits, tutoring, and hosting professional or motivational workshops.