Monday, January 18, 2010

Big Sunday is Coming

What do the Flintridge Prep Key Club, Polytechnic School and the LA Dodgers have in common?

How are Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Adat Ari El Synagogue alike?

The answer to these questions is: Big Sunday 2010.

Imagine a day when everyone volunteers.

On Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2, some 50,000 Southern Californians, people of all ages, ethnicities and faiths, will volunteer to do community service. There will be hundreds of projects. The projects are specific and are organized in advance. advertisement

Here’s how it works: Volunteers, individually or in organizations, clubs, scout troops, schools or churches, sign up for a specific project. There’s an application form online at

There will be hundreds of projects, organized in advance. There are projects suitable for all ages. Perfect for any youth group, scout troop or social club. Volunteers and staff of the beneficiary groups participate as well.

Beginning in April, these hundreds of projects will be listed on the Big Sunday website. The sites are all over the county. In years past, these projects have included:

For seniors: Making lunch for seniors and their caregivers at the Assistance League in Hollywood.

Basket assembly line: Placing donated items into thousands of baskets for donation to the needy, and then delivering them to dozens of nonprofit organizations for distribution.

Nature: Parkland cleanup projects, planting gardens, cleaning beaches and rivers, planting trees, recycling. (This year, Big Sunday will launch “Green Sunday.”)

Animals: Helping at animal shelters, taking disadvantaged kids and adults on horseback rides, bringing animal and science shows to schools and shelters. Last year, volunteers bathed 91 rescued basset hounds at the Daphneyland Basset Rescue Ranch in Acton.

Some volunteers come by themselves. Others participate as part of a church, synagogue, school, business or club. Families can sign up to do a project together. This is perfect for scout troops and youth groups. Last year, over 500 nonprofits, agencies and schools, including Prep, Poly, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Harvard Westlake, participated.

Big Sunday began 10 years ago as a Hollywood synagogue’s “Mitzvah Day” or charity project. The idea was to have lots of people do community service on the same day. Other organizations joined in, the program “went secular” and began to grow. Eventually, Big Sunday became a separate nonprofit, was endorsed by the mayor of Los Angeles and acquired corporate sponsorship.

Today, Big Sunday is the largest regional community service event in America.

All you have to do is show up. All expenses are underwritten by grants and donations. Volunteers bring their “time and talent.” The Big Sunday organizers say, “No one will ask for your money.”

Informational meetings are being held this month. For more information, contact Rachel Linton, project manager, at (323) 549-9944 or at


ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at

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