The best thing about the holidays isn’t the getting. It’s the giving.
Here, eight worthy causes that deserve your TLC this season.
The Gentle Barn
What: The Santa Clarita farm rehabilitates abused farm and domestic animals to become therapeutic ambassadors to at-risk youth, children with special needs, and school groups.
How to Help: Socialize animals (pet pigs, hold chickens, hug cows), become a sponsor, or make a donation toward the animals’ holiday wish list.
Where: 15825 Sierra Hwy., at Vasquez Way, Santa Clarita (661-252-2440).
First Place for Youth
What: Through housing, education, and employment programs, this innovative organization helps former foster kids adjust to adult life.
How to Help: Volunteer, fund, or donate specific items needed for events or the Community Resource Center.
Where: 3530 Wilshire Blvd., at S. Normandie Ave., ste. 600, Mid-Wilshire (213-835-2700).
What: At-risk children are given creative outlets through music, writing, art, and theater workshops. Mentors take them to concerts, plays, and other cultural events for inspiration.
How to Help: Mentor a child, join a committee, or donate funds and supplies.
Where: 1611 S. Hope St., at Venice Blvd., ste. e, Downtown (213-747-2777).
The Young Storytellers Foundation
What: An in-school arts education program that develops literacy through bringing professional writers into the classroom to help kids write their own original short screenplays. At the program’s end, professional actors perform the students’ scripts in front of an audience.
How to Help: Make a donation or show your support as an audience member.
Where: 923 E. Third St., at Wall St., ste. 307, Downtown (323-962-4500).
What: The environmental org works to build more sustainable communities by planting trees and educating kids and adults on being eco-conscious.
How to Help: Distribute fruit trees to low-income neighborhoods, volunteer for tree care, or dedicate a seedling to a green-obsessed pal for the holidays.
Where: 12601 Mulholland Dr., at Coldwater Canyon Ave., Beverly Hills (818-753-4600).
Project Angel Food
What: Professional chefs cook free, healthy meals to be delivered to those affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses throughout L.A.
How to Help: Put the skills you learned on the Food Network to good use by volunteering in the kitchen or at an event.
Where: 922 Vine St., at Barton Ave., Hollywood (323-845-1800).
Beauty Bus Foundation
What: A makeover mobile that provides gratis in-home salon and spa services and pop-up salons for chronically or terminally ill women, men, and children.
How to Help: Volunteer as a beauty professional (if you are, of course), buddy, or ambassador.
Where: 2716 Ocean Park Blvd., at 28th St., ste. 1062, Santa Monica (310-392-0900).
Peace Over Violence
What: This pioneering prevention center works to help end domestic and sexual violence through a 24-hour emergency hotline, individual and group counseling, self-defense initiatives, and educational programs.
How to Help: Volunteer at the center or donate to your choice of services.
Where: 1015 Wilshire Blvd., at Saint Paul Ave., ste. 200, Downtown (213-955-9090).
Photo: Nancy R. Cohen / Getty Images