Open the Umbrella of Care

At the Volunteer Center, there are many ways of supporting our mission to build an umbrella of care for our community. We believe that whether our donors are individuals, community or corporate groups, they will be empowered and changed through service. From corporate sponsorships and legacy gifts to community food drives and reward points donations, there is a donor option to suit almost any individual or group.

Donors support our mission to touch hearts and open minds by putting empathy into action where care is needed most. Contributions have a direct impact on thousands of community members, including underserved children, by addressing hunger and food scarcity, educational inequity, social and emotional wellness, and more. Donations also support transformational experiences in the lives of volunteers.

Make a Donation. Make a Change.

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Top Priorities for Donations

 Donations are essential for instilling the gift of empathy in our community. Donations are directed to our Engaging Hearts and Minds (EH&M) initiative which provides support for programs and events that feed children and families, educational tools for children in need, programs to help youth cope with contemporary stresses through volunteer service, and more. These programs help our youth learn the values of kindness, community service, and social responsibility. We maintain a wish list of community members and groups that need our service, pending increased financial support:
  • Waitlisted schools for the Operation Teddy Bear schoolbags
  • Waitlisted students for our teen programs
  • Waitlisted schools with families that need Food for Kids meals
  • Additional items such as healthy snacks, and social-emotional wellness tools for Operation Teddy Bear
  • Additional holiday events gift distributions for our nonprofit partners
  • Expansion of our Empathy In Action events to serve more youth

How to Contribute Financially

We accept many types of donations. To provide a financial gift in support of our mission, community members and volunteers, contribute a one-time gift or become one of our beloved monthly donors.

Donations can be set up as automatic monthly contributions, to ensure that we can provide help where care is needed most every month of the year. Monthly donors are recognized in our monthly eNewsletter.

Additional donation methods:

Checks – Make checks payable to the “Volunteer Center,” with “donation” in the memo field. Please mail to: 1230 Cravens Avenue Torrance, CA 90501, to the attention of Jon Phelps.

Transfer of stock – We accept stock transfer donations through our brokerage account with Vanguard. Contact for process and account instructions.

Tax Deductions

The Volunteer Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and our EIN is 95-2301600. All online donations receive an immediate thank you email that can be used for tax purposes. Subject to the guidance of individual tax experts in each case, our donors are eligible to claim individual and corporate deductions for monetary contributions as applicable. In-kind food and item donations also prompt a tax deduction and receipts are available upon request. If you need another copy of your receipt, please send an email request to with your name, amount, and date of donation.

Grants and Sponsorships

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Support for a Kind and Connected Community

Our donor programs are built around priority grants and scholarships that bring the community together in a continuous cycle of care. Our sponsorship priority is the Engaging Hearts and Minds (EH&M) initiative. Supporting EH&M allows sponsors to show families and children that their community is a place of empathy and care. With increased support, we can reach over 10,000 families and youth each year. Supporting EH&M allows sponsors to show families and children that their community is a place of empathy and care. With increased support, we can reach over 10,000 families and youth each year.

The annual program cost for EH&M is more than $1 million, primarily for materials, volunteer management, outreach, evaluation, and program staff. Our major funding typically stems from donations and grants made by corporations, nonprofit foundations, and government organizations (including the City of Torrance and Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach). Program fees for the Court-Referred Community Service program also form a portion of our budget. Like many organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant decline in revenue.

Sponsorship Tiers

To discuss sponsorship details, please contact our president/CEO Josh Gezahegn at

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Donation Drives

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In-Kind Donations

In-kind donations given by individuals and groups in support of the Volunteer Center benefit thousands of under-resourced families and children in our community, through our Food for Kids and Operation Teddy Bear programs. We distribute food and health-related products to low-income students in collaboration with our nonprofit partners in the South Bay and Harbor areas weekly – wherever the need is greatest. In addition to hands-on food drive initiatives, we also accept major donations and hands-on volunteer drives from businesses to amplify the care provided and create a meaningful experience for contributing teams.

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What We Need Most:

Food For Kids Pantry
  • Breakfast items (cereal, granola bars)
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Shelf-stable fruit (canned fruit, raisins)
  • Meal components (pasta, canned vegetables, canned meat)
Operation Teddy Bear
  • Travel-sized toothpaste
  • Youth-sized toothbrushes (individually wrapped)
  • Standard orange pencils
  • 8-count Crayola Crayons
  • Primary composition notebooks

How to Organize a Donation Drive 

One of the most hands-on ways to assist the Food for Kids or Operation Teddy Bear programs, and to be empowered and inspired by a volunteer experience, leverage your impact by holding a donation drive for your organization, business, or neighborhood.

When organizing a drive, we encourage you to follow best practices established for a successful drive including:

  • Spreading the word through social media posts
  • Posting a sign with the mission and items needed
  • Set a creative collection box
  • Create fun team competitions for a good cause

We also encourage teams to consider establishing a final “impact day” at the office or warehouse and offering an opportunity to package up the donations for delivery with your fellow volunteers.

Feel free to always connect with our team first and confirm current needs.  


How to Drop Off        Donations 

We accept donation drop-offs Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm at our Torrance office, 1230 Cravens Ave, Torrance, CA 90501.

If you would like to make special arrangements for after-hours donations, or a donation larger than a standard vehicle, please email or call (310) 212-5009 to make an appointment so we can ensure enough volunteers and carts to help you unload. We will count and/or weigh your donation and you may receive a receipt copy upon request.

Help Us When You Shop

Individual donors can make an impactful empathetic gesture toward our community simply by shopping. Configure your accounts to share community and matching rewards with us. At Ralph’s and Food for Less, simply visit your online account and select the Community Rewards tab, where you can search for and add “Volunteer Center South Bay.”

Bestow a Legacy Gift

Supporting our community through programs that build empathy and resilience is an enduring legacy. For this reason, we established the De De Hicks Legacy Endowment Campaign to honor our former CEO. To discuss the establishment of a named endowment and/or gift through a will or trust, please contact our current president/CEO Josh Gezahegn at 310 212-5009 or

Upon request, an endowment can be directed to support a single initiative, program or scholarship.

Our Valued Sponsors

Without these generous organizations, we would not be able to provide the umbrella of care that our programs, volunteers, and community members create together.

Stay Connected!

It’s the best way to learn more about the Volunteer Center and stay up-to-date with opportunities and events. Make sure you’re also following us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and LinkedIn!