When the world is riddled with huge issues that often make us feel tiny in comparison, it may be easy to feel our impact is minimal, too. But we both know that isn’t the case—especially when we work together. In fact, we have seen countless times this year alone the significant change we can inspire in our own communities through simple collective actions in our daily lives. This quote springs to mind: “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” Even as we keep up with the news globally, it’s crucial to remember how much we can affect locally.
This holiday season, we’re bringing you the Everyone In Gift Guide witch includes a bunch of L.A.-based businesses that give back in so many amazing ways to their communities, including advocacy and support for our unhoused neighbors, as well as fantastic minority-owned businesses. Consider getting your holiday shopping done with some (or all!) of these businesses to help people experiencing homelessness and to help strengthen their economic wellness.
We’ve carefully curated this guide with our favorites. Browse through to see lots of cool gift ideas and how your purchases can make a difference.
MADE by Downtown Women’s Center – All purchases from Made, created by the Downtown Women’s Center, will support vital career training and mentorship programs for women who are experiencing homelessness. Many of Made’s products are key ingredients to some lovely self-care, like candles, soaps, and bath salts—or you can peruse some cool clothing and stationery.
Piece by Piece – Piece by Piece’s mission is to provide free mosaic art workshops to residents of Skid Row, South Los Angeles, and surrounding areas who have experienced homelessness and/or are living with economic insecurity. Your support will go directly to offering cultural opportunities to the artists that they would otherwise never be able to experience.
Reparations Club – Reparations Club is more than a bookstore. This Black woman-owned bookshop in Mid City is a creative space curated to show the beauty and power of Blackness.
Nappily Naturals & Apothecary – This Black-owned wellness shop and healing space located in Leimert Park is run by a husband and wife committed to rejuvenating not only your hair and skin, but the community’s understanding of how to avoid harsh chemicals and show love to their bodies.
The Modern Cactus – Diana Lamas’ Los Angeles brand is inspired by her Mexican culture and love of bohemian style. Her affordable line of vegan suede hats are handmade in Mexico and come in two styles—rancher and boater—and a variety of colors. One size fits most.
Tansy – Tansy is about a warm home, celebrating nature, and creativity. They are an eclectic collection of unique, one-of-a-kind art and home décor pieces. Thinking globally, they sell handmade items from individual artists across cultures.
The Foto Shop by Las Fotos Project – Send your loved ones gallery-worthy photo prints from artists who have participated in Las Fotos Project over the last ten years, including Fabila Lopez and Anissa Murillo. Proceeds from sales support the East L.A.-based group, which works with teenage girls, helping them use photography to express themselves, document their communities, and build valuable skills.
Goddess Mercado – Come to this monthly pop-up event designed to uplift local Latina vendors in the Los Angeles community. You can find all sorts of incredible goods every second Saturday of every month from 10–4pm.
Lil’Libros – Lil’ Libros celebrates Latin American culture and important figures in its history. Their books honor beautiful stories like the life of Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, and Cuban music icon, Celia Cruz, in English and Spanish with rich and colorful illustrations—while also introducing concepts like first words, numbers, colors, shapes, and biographies.
A Place Called Home – A Place Called Home provides children and teens in South Central L.A. with love, safety, training, and opportunity. Donating is a gift that will never stop giving.
Search to Involve Pilipino Americans – Search to Involve Pilipino Americans is a community center that offers services such as utility assistance and housing to underprivileged populations. This holiday season, S.I.P.A. is collecting gifts, toys, gift cards, food, and new clothing items to donate to low-income families.
As One Charity – One Church International’s outreach ministry group, As One Charity, visits L.A.’s Skid Row and Hollywood on a weekly basis to provide food, water, clothes, hygiene products, and reading materials to our unhoused neighbors. For the holidays, As One Charity is accepting clothing, food donations, blankets, gift cards, water, and toys, along with gift boxes for adopted families.
Eso Won Books – This independent Black-owned bookshop’s specialty is literature chronicling the Black experience. Check out the awesome selection for both fiction and nonfiction.
Malik Books – This African American bookstore in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw sells new and used books, gifts, and more, while hosting events such as book signings from some incredible authors.
Bloom & Plume Coffee – This Black Family Business in Echo Park is not just a coffee shop, but a brand built around uniting people and their community. You’ll definitely want to check them out if you’re into coffee, flowers, or anything cool.
Hot And Cool Cafe – This small business serves as the backdrop for some amazing creative works, including art and live music. We recommend picking up a few bags of their delicious coffee.
Sip & Sonder – This Black women-owned coffee house in Inglewood is the place to go for beautiful coffee beans, teas, and one of our favorite things—community building.
Dime Nail – Enjoy a unique nail care experience in the Miracle Mile. You’ll walk away with wearable art that helps you feel as great as you are.
Union LA – Shop for off-the-beaten-path, high-end global brands that are guaranteed to punch up any wardrobe.
Süprmarkt One-for-One – When there’s not a pandemic afoot, Süprmarkt pops up in Leimert Park offering low-cost, wholesome grocery markets. For now, they’re focusing on CSA-style boxes brimming with healthy, local, organic produce. A gift subscription covers two boxes: one for your gift recipient to enjoy, and a second that will be donated to one of the 2 million people in Los Angeles living in a food desert.
Honey Mamas – Honey Mamas’s cocoa truffle bars break all the rules. They are made to nourish you with plenty of super food ingredients while also tasting indulgent and delicious.
No Us Without You Meal Sponsorship – $33 to feed a family of four for a week. No Us Without You has stepped up amid the pandemic to feed and care for the very people who so often feed and care for the rest of us—undocumented hospitality industry workers. Share what you might have spent on a single holiday dinner with a friend at an L.A. restaurant, and you’ll cover the costs of feeding a family for a week.
Consider donating to the organizations below this holiday season:
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights – Founded in 1986, L.A.-based CHIRLA provides direct services to local immigrant and mixed-status families, including legal services and representation, health and social services referrals, in-language education programming, and policy advocacy.
LA Mission – Every December LA Mission hosts their annual Christmas dinner for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Lines wrap around the block as families enjoy a true winter wonderland and receive a meal, toys, shoes, and health care. Los Angeles Mission feeds over 5,000 people on Christmas.
A Better LA – A Better LA was founded in 2003 by NFL coach Pete Carroll to support community-based solutions to restore peace, save lives, and link individuals in the inner city to resources they need in order to succeed. During the period between 2003 and 2014, A Better LA funded community-based non-profits led by former gang members who had turned their lives around and dedicated themselves to reducing gang violence. They continue to have a powerful impact on the communities they serve.