Helping Hands accepts 3 donations in week six

(Photo by Gary Kohatsu)

Vieira, Devereaux make individual contributions; GV Lions add $250

By Gary Kohatsu

It was a slow week en route to the Christmas holiday as the Helping Hands program received only three contributions.

AJ Vieira led the way with a $300 gift, followed by the Gardena Valley Lions Club with $250. Clarence Devereaux added a $100 gift and the week’s total was $650.

The unofficial take for the holiday season is $12,340.50.

Jaclyn Arcos, Helping Hands coordinator and Community Services Counselor, said that the Hustler Casino and the Lucky Lady Casino gave “a carload of toys to Helping Hands” within the last two weeks.

Arcos added that others collecting toys for Helping Hands are Nader’s furniture store and Nissin Foods, as well as eight city locations: City Hall, Human Services, Nakaoka Center, GTrans, Freeman Park, Mas Fukai Park, Rowley Park and Johnson Park.

Now in its 41st year, the holiday program is an important part of the city’s outreach to the Gardena community.

For questions regarding Helping Hands, contact the Human Services Division at 310-217-9574 or email helping-

The Helping Hands program helps between 400 and 450 families each holiday season. That would include about 700 children and overall, about 2,000 people.

Families who live outside of Gardena, in the unincorporated area of the Harbor Gateway, might also qualify for the Helping Hands program if there is enough food and toys, city officials said.

For a great cause

Sponsored by the city of Gardena in cooperation with the Gardena Valley News, the holiday food drive began in 1980 as a food basket giveaway to Gardena’s less fortunate.

In recent years, food vouchers to area grocery stores have replaced food baskets, which provides families with a greater selection of food items, including dietary and ethnic items.

Last year, the Helping Hands program received palettes of canned foods and non-perishables from various groups for the holiday.

The city of Gardena provides all staffing in the Hands drive and all monetary contributions go toward the holiday fundraiser and the year-round food pantry.

No money is used for administrative costs.

As in the past, the Gardena Valley News will publish a list of contributors, with a weekly update of new donors. For more information about Helping Hands, call 310-217-9574.

• Checks should be made to “Helping Hands” and can be sent electronically to, under “Donation Opportunities” tab. Then click “Helping Hands.”

• If donations are sent by snail mail: City of Gardena, Attn: Human Services Department, 1700 W. 162nd Street, Gardena, CA 90247.

• Monetary donations should be dropped off at the Human Services Building, 1651 W. 162nd Street, Gardena.

• Businesses collecting toys are the Hustler and Lucky Lady Casinos, Nader’s furniture store and Nissin Foods.

City departments and parks have eight drop-off locations:

City Hall, Human Services, Nakaoka Center, GTrans, Freeman Park, Mas Fukai Park, Rowley Park and Johnson Park.

• Food donations are accepted year-round.

“We need items such as toys, books, art supplies, board games, sports equipment and gift cards for youth age 10 and older,” Arcos said.

To learn more about the event, contact Jaclyn Arcos, City of Gardena Recreation Department, at 310-217-9574.