MEND in Pacoima

Love is a Warm Blanket, a nonprofit foundation created by Angela Amirkhanian, is once again distributing donations of blankets to the homeless this winter.

“Though the street is not a home, we aim to provide warmth, love and attention where it’s needed most,” said Amirkhanian, whose personal mission is to help the homeless during the winter months with donations of blankets.

She said she founded her foundation in 2012 after “wanting to help in areas that needed help.”

“I pictured the homeless not getting a chance to spend holidays with family, friends, food and homes,” Amirkhanian said. “I wanted to provide some warmth and comfort to those who do not get to spend the holidays like others can. I also thought blankets are not only for when it’s cold.  Those who sleep outdoors need blankets year round.”

 Amirkhanian seeks donations, then distributes blankets from October through the end of January. And 2015 is turning into the foundation’s biggest year. Love is a Warm Blanket has distributed nearly 400 blankets to the general homeless population living on the streets. and through distribution events with homeless shelters.

The foundation participated in MEND’s (Meet Each Need with Dignity) Pacoima holiday basket program for low income families with children under 14 in December, giving 40 blankets. There have been events in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row last January and will again this January, where residents chose blankets.

The foundation has also donated blankets to the My Friend’s Place in Hollywood parenting program for homeless youth and, most recently, gave blankets to the Ascencia emergency shelter winter for homeless residents in Glendale on Dec. 20.

What has helped make this year a bountiful one, Amirkhanian said, were contributions from a variety of businesses and organizations that allowed her to expand the amount of donations she presents. Donors include Lionsgate Entertainment ,the Christian Outreach for Armenians Church and The Valley Economic Alliance.

But even though Amirkhanian personally distributes all of the blankets herself, she tries to have a representative from a donating business come with her.

“I ask the largest donors to come with me to the shelters to give the blankets out and make conversation,” she said. “I want them to see how dire the homeless situation is, and the gratitude I experience, rather than just making a donation,” she said.

“I want to take love where it’s needed. And, other than providing a little warmth, I want to spread some love.”

— Mike Terry

For more information, visit the website: liawb.blogspot.com. You can find drop off locations points as well as view an Amazon wish list to purchase donations and ship them directly to Amirkhanian to distribute.