On Wednesday, November 22, members of the Los Angeles Rams organization joined a few local Thanksgiving efforts to give back to the community during the holiday season. As part of the team's monthly staff day of service program, the Rams attended Big Sunday's 6th Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event and A Place Called Home's Thanksgiving Community Dinner.
At the 6th Annual Big Sunday Thanksgiving Stuffing Event, more than 1,200 people of all ages and backgrounds worked together to fill over 2,500 bags of holiday food for the hungry. The Rams joined other corporate sponsors as well as representatives from schools, faith and civic groups, individuals, and families to decorate and fill bags with food for families in need leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Founder and Executive Director David Levinson has led the evolution of Big Sunday's Thanksgiving initiatives since its inception in 1999. He has seen it grow from a one-day-a-year event with his local synagogue to an event that occupies an entire Hollywood block with multiple organizations participating and supporting the cause. He believes the Rams involvement and support will only continue to expand the program's reach for many Thanksgivings to come.
"Our mission is to connect people through helping and Big Sunday's events represent people from all parts of the community working together," said Levinson. "Sports are so important to so many people, whether to play sports or watch sports so it was great to have the Rams here in so many ways. For starters, their generous donation allowed us to involve, feed and serve so many. Having a team like the Rams, who have such a great past, present and future in LA there to share it with us and provide so much help was especially nice. We hope they join us for more events and people were thrilled to have Rampage and the cheerleaders there too!"
Every year, A Place Called Home hosts a Thanksgiving Community Dinner for South Central Los Angeles families and neighbors in need. Rams front office staffers joined team partner, American Airlines, and other volunteers and community leaders in serving food, greeting guests, servicing beverages, busing tables, and other activities throughout the event. For nine years, APCH's Executive Director Jonathan Zeichner has gone to work every day with a mission to touch and improve lives. He found it especially rewarding when the Rams and other recognizable supporters volunteered to facilitate their Thanksgiving event, and support the cause he has worked so hard and passionately for.
"A Place Called Home does so many things on one campus to serve youth, families and the community, said Zeichner. "Poverty is brutal and destructive. It leaves people bruised and their bellies and spirits malnourished. A Place Called Home responds to those needs and many others year round. At our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner and Grocery Distribution event, we welcome volunteers and donors to help distribute food and serve our families and neighbors in need. It is especially gratifying when corporate and professional leaders get involved and we are thrilled that the LA Rams have joined the APCH family. We look forward to a strong partnership in service."
"Staff engagement is a hallmark of our organization," said Molly Higgins, Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement for the Los Angeles Rams. "It's important to expose our staff to the needs of our community, educate them about the amazing non-profits working to address those needs and engage them in our organizational efforts to assist. I think it illustrates to our community that each member of the Rams team – even beyond our very charitable players – is committed to improving our region and the lives of our neighbors. Working with two of Los Angeles' non-profit leaders like Big Sunday and A Place Called Home was a great way for our staff to come together with fellow Angelenos and celebrate the true spirit of Thanksgiving by serving others."
*Big Sunday* is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect people through helping with the idea that absolutely everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. The organization offers more than 2,000 ways for people to pitch in, help out, and give back every year.
Set in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country, *A Place Called Home* (APCH) provides a safe, nurturing environment with proven programs in arts, education and wellness where youth gain hope, trust and self-respect, and develop the life skills and courage to transcend gangs, drugs and poverty and take ownership for their own lives. Since January of 2017, the Rams' Staff Day of Service program has provided 1,642 hours of community service and volunteered with 10 local non-profits and 25 schools. For more information about the Rams' community outreach initiatives, please visit therams.com/community.