My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Big Sunday, Los Angeles, CA, USA
To say that Big Sunday has changed my life -- and the lives of thousands of people -- is an understatement.
Over 10 years ago, I got my first glimpse of what Big Sunday was all about. I started volunteering on a small scale, making lunch and doing craft activities with Ability First, an apartment complex for adults with disabilities. After two years, I became Social Action Chair at my temple and had access to hundreds of volunteers. I got "promoted" within Big Sunday and was asked to create a carnival for foster children at Penny Lane in North Hills, while their foster parents participated in classes. With over 80 volunteers, we set up a homemade carnival, fed them hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream, found a DJ who offered her time, set up donated bouncies, and gave out tons of prizes, including a trip to Disneyland! This was all free to the families, of course, thanks to Big Sunday and the many donations we snagged. The kids never could get over that they didn't have to pay for any of it. I ran that highly rewarding event for four years and I believe it continues on today.
Meanwhile, as Social Action Chair, I modeled our many temple activities after Big Sunday. I completely (with permission and blessing!) plagiarized their brochures and ideas and implemented them into our temple social action activities. Our participation EXPLODED. For example, over 400 people joined in for our annual community giving day (aka "Mitzvah Day"). Not bad for a congregation of 600+ families. I attribute much of this success to the Big Sunday format which simply WORKS.
For the next three years on Big Sunday, I co-led a food and clothing collection with a local school board member. We tapped into our suburban school district and collected truckloads of important items for local shelters and food banks, while our school kids sorted and delivered. They loved the hands-on feeling of helping out alongside our superintendent, and organizations were thrilled with the bonanza of donations.
For the last two years, I have been working with L.A. Family Housing. They house homeless families temporarily, and we volunteers serve them lunch and do many fun games with the kids like Perler Beads. We take family pictures for them and give them frames and albums ... something simple that they often don't have. They love it!
The biggest thing to say about Big Sunday is what happens outside of Big Sunday. Thanks to their Holiday Giving List, I have a decade-long relationship with Covenant House in which my family donates gift cards to their youth every Christmas. I won a Volunteer of the Year award from Penny Lane, and my family joins another family later in the year to volunteer for L.A. Family Housing's "Birthday Club," giving gifts to the kids in the shelter whose birthdays fall that month.
Big Sunday has changed my life, the lives of hundreds of volunteers I work with, and thousands of people whom I have been honored to meet.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
... I only wish I lived closer to the headquarters so I could do more!
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