Photo Courtesy of Boys & Girls Club

The Holiday Season has begun with the annual Thanksgiving celebration. It is traditionally a time for giving. But it can be the hardest time of year for nonprofit organizations to raise operational funds.

“One thing (about this time of year): every level of support is appreciated,” said Nicole Chase, acting president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club in Pacoima. “And everyone can touch and change someone’s life…The impact from what any individual gives will resonate.”

“We can feel powerless watching [more] people become homeless. We can feel inadequate,” noted Ken Craft, CEO for Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission in Mission Hills. “But there is something empowering about giving to others that can be part of the healing collectively in our region.”

Volunteering is another important act of giving, and which is welcomed by many nonprofit organizations.

“If you go out of your way to help someone carry groceries, visit a senior center, read books to the little ones, serve a meal — these actions are what Thanksgiving and Christmas are about,” Chase said.

Both Valley organizations, in the business of helping others, are reaching out to the public to support their efforts in providing for those in need.

The Boys & Girls Club, which has been an after school and summer “home” for thousands of kids of working parents since it opened in 1966, has begun a two-month capital campaign fundraiser through crowdrise.com to help with operational expenses, and provide a winter outlet for students during their winter school break.

The rescue mission, which has worked tirelessly to provide emergency and temporary support to help those who are homeless with temporary shelter, meals and clothing, is also seeking donations, monetary and otherwise, for the approaching winter months.

Every year can create challenging situations for nonprofits. And 2018 has been no different for Hope of the Valley and the Boys & Girls Club.

Despite opening two new shelters, including one in the West Valley, Craft said the rescue mission is still seeing a rise in the number of homeless in the Valley seeking its aid.

“Even though (LA county is) seeing some traction toward permanent housing and temporary shelters — it still takes time. Even for the emergency shelters,” Craft said. “People still continue to be homeless and we don’t have the massive solution to the problem yet. So there will be more people in need of services than last year, in part from the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing.”

But the rescue mission is determined to be part of the solution. Hope of the Valley, in its mission statement both “demonstrates compassionate concern for individuals lacking means to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their families,” and “believes that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, political persuasion or religious affiliation is entitled to receive essential life services.”

Likewise, the Boys and Girls Club, which seeks to “enrich the lives of girls and boys whom other youth agencies failed to reach,” remains dedicated to “ensuring that our community’s disadvantaged youngsters have greater access to quality programs and services that will enhance their lives and shape their futures.”

The Boys & Girls Club has been without its president and CEO LeRoy Chase, who has been hospitalized the past 11 months with respiratory and kidney ailments. Nicole Chase said there is still no timetable for his return to work.

“We’re hoping to get him home by Christmas,” she said. “We will do everything not to close our doors, but we do need to raise money.”

This on top of last year’s Creek Fire, which threatened the family’s Monte Verde Ranch and boarding house in Sylmar and required the evacuation of hundreds of horses.

“My family and I have much to be thankful for,” Chase said. “We have come through a lot, and it’s created a stronger team from among us to help my dad with the club and the ranch. It makes me give thanks for every day. When I say every day is a blessing, it truly is a blessing.”

Both nonprofit entities understand it is never easy to ask for outside support.

“We have those who have struggled with being homeless for years. [Donating] allows us to face our humanity and need; we all have need for food, clothing, shelter, and friendship. It’s powerful to the giver and receiver,” Craft said.

“[The public can] get hit every which way,” added Chase. “Everyone is asking. Unfortunately, it’s a time when more people are in need. But it’s also a time when more people are extremely grateful and appreciative for every little bit. And the good outweighs the bad.”

All monetary donations are tax-deductible. All can warm the giver’s heart as well as the receiver’s.

Craft, who was overseeing the mission’s 10th annual Thanksgiving banquet which planned to serve more than 1,000 free holiday meals this week thanks to support from Southern California Gas, Rodeo Realty and Xerox, said he always anticipates the holiday season being an emissary toward more civility and respect among people along with being a conduit for giving.

Even more so this year.

“I want to see just more humanity and dignity. I’d like to see some genuine compassion for our fellow man,” he said. “I think the political climate has created an adversarial environment. I hope this season we care for others regardless of political affiliation and economic situation, regardless of ethnicity and race.

“The divide seems to be getting greater. And one of the greatest ways to overcome prejudice and selfishness is by giving. It is the antidote.”

Chase had one final message about the holiday season.

This is our season to say ‘thank you’ to all of our supporters as well.”

If you’d like to help the Boys & Girls Club of San Fernando Valley, visit: www.bgcsfv.org and click on the “donate” button.

If you’d like to help the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, visit www.hopeofthevalley.org. Hope of the Valley will be opening its emergency shelter in Pacoima (with 150 beds) on Dec. 1.