Yes, you've still got shopping to do, but it helps after a national tragedy to stop in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle and reach out to those who need help. We've gathered up a list of events where you can make a difference and enjoy the meaning of the season as well.
• Mar Vista Fire Department Pancake Breakfast — Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., get a free breakfast at Mar Vista Fire Station 62, but bring an unwrapped toy for the Los Angeles Police Department's toy drive (no soft toys). Seating is limited, so reserve your spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Fire Station 62 is located at 11970 Venice Blvd.
• Culver City Annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Toy Give Away — The Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Area Station will be hosting its yearly toy giveaway to needy families. But on Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can drop off toys, products, money or checks made out to "Pacific Area Boosters Association" with a memo noting its for the Pacific Toy Drive. Take your donations to the Pacific Division Police Department, 12312 Culver Blvd.
For more information or to arrange a pickup of donations, contact Officer Lisa Gropp, email@example.com, or the Pacific Area Community Relations Office at 310-202-2890.
• Brentwood The Giving Spirit — The Giving Spirit serves the homeless throughout Los Angeles. This weekend, volunteers of all ages are needed to assemble and distribute kits of food, blankets, clothing, toiletries and water to the homeless. Time slots and tasks from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday are available. Meet at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church, 12000 San Vincente Blvd. Visit The Giving Spirit website for more information.
Brentwood Village Chamber of Commerce also hosts its annual "Festivus" event Saturday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., at the Brentwood Village Shopping Center, Sunset Boulevard and Barrington Avenue. Enjoy entertainment, food, carolers, and merchant sales — plus do good by adoping a pet.
• Santa Monica Pub Crawl — Saturday's Fourth Annual Santa Monica Pub Crawl will benefit the Westside Food Bank. Santa Monica restaurants and bars will offer drink and food specials as part of the fundraiser. Visit the pub crawl website to purchase $10 advance tickets or purchase a ticket at your starting location. Last year, over 5,000 people, many dressed in holiday costumes, visited 25 establishments and helped raise $17,000 for the food bank.
If you plan to drink and don't have a designated driver, consider the bus or a cab. The Big Blue Bus is selling unlimited passes for $4 on the pub crawl website. Yellow Cab will donate a portion of its proceeds from the night to the Westside Food Bank.
Do you have events you'd like to promote? Register on a Westside Patch site, then submit them to the Santa Monica Patch, Culver City Patch, Brentwood Patch, Pacific Palisades Patch, Venice Patch and Marina del Rey Patch.