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PhiLAnthropist: Give Back to LA with Food & Paddleboats

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Submitted & Authored by Emily Lerman

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Photo by stu_spivack via Flickr

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING MORE DIY? START A BURRITO PROJECT: Yes, an LA Burrito Project may already exist, and many people may already be familiar with this low-profile group that seeks to remain a "no fame, no faces organization with no leader or head quarters", but that is not to stop one from starting another one; LA is a big city.

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In January 2006 two friends rode their bikes around Skid Row, delivering 90 homemade-burritos to the homeless, and thus forming LA Burrito Project. Since then, the original crew has grown and they feed 300-400 homeless people weekly. However, they are not "accepting" new members; the Burrito Project seeks to maintain anonymity, and as such continue to serve as a motivational "tool for groups of friends to become active participants in their communities".

Today, Burrito Projects span from the Inland Empire and Hollywood to Detroit, Denver and even Damascus, Syria for the Falafel Project. For tips on starting your own, check out the various myspace pages or this KCRW interview. "Because mom said share..."

ATTEND A VOLUNTEER OPEN HOUSE AT THE SABAN FREE CLINIC (formerly known as the LA Free Clinic): The Saban Free Clinic seeks to provide "dependable and affordable quality health care and social services in a caring environment for the underserved and those who are most vulnerable". They began in 1967 to give care to young people who had nowhere else to turn and now run four clinics throughout the city, offering medical, dental and mental health services. Volunteer opportunities exist for people of varying ages and skills. Volunteer Open Houses are held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of June, August, October and December, the next one is this Wednesday, August 13th.

COMPETE IN THE ECHO PARK LAKE PADDLE BOAT REGATTA AND RAISE MONEY FOR 826LA: The well-known 826LA, founded by critically-acclaimed author Dave Eggers, seeks to inspire and "support students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills" by offering one-on-one drop-in tutoring sessions and workshops. 826LA always hosts creative and unique fundraising events and the Echo Lake Paddle Boat Regatta is no different. On Sunday August 17th at 4pm, teams of two will compete for the title of "World's Best Paddle Boater" and a post-race concert at The Echo will follow. However, space is limited (15 boats per heat and 3 heats), so early sign up is recommended. And if raising money for the kids is not enough of a reason to hit up friends and family for donations, teams are ranked by total funds raised so they can "buy" a better a starting position. 826LA is looking for tutors as well, volunteer orientation sessions occur frequently and are listed on their calendar.

And just as a reminder (from last week's column), the Skid Row Neighborhood Watch Walk takes place tonight at 6, and Reading to Kids happens this Saturday and volunteers must sign-up ahead of time.

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Submitted & Authored by Emily Lerman