By Cmdr. Renee Wike
Acting Community Service Director
The holidays are approaching. The spirit of giving is higher than usual.
At this time of year, the need of charities for donations is even greater than usual. The USS Angeles has always made an effort to contribute to the community through charitable works.
One of our annual events is the AIDS Walk Los Angeles. On Oct. 11, our five-member team raised more than $600 for AIDS Project Los Angeles during a 6.2-mile (10-kilometer) walk through West Hollywood and Los Angeles. Walking were members Paul Szymborski, Jeremy Kranz, Dave Mason, guest Annette and former, longtime member Connie Smith.
APLA supports more than 20 Los Angeles County AIDS service organizations that helps people who have the HIV virus and AIDS. You can sign up to walk or just donate to someone who is walking. You can still make donations at
The Angeles is also involved with Direct Relief. The nonprofit, based in Goleta near Santa Barbara, has the mission of improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations such an an unexpected natural disaster.
Zachary Quinto, aka Spock in the new “Star Trek” movies, is the celebrity spokesman for Direct Relief and has praised it for its transparency in how the funds are used.
The group works in partnership with local organizations.
Direct Relief is made possible by contributions from individuals, health care companies, and medical manufacturers. I’m proud to say the company I am contracted by (Baxter, now Baxalta) for the last 15 years is a major contributor to this organization. You can make a donation to this group. The website is www.directrelief.org.
Also supported by the Angeles is Haven Hills, a group that provides safety, shelter and support to all victims of domestic violence while working to break the cycle of abuse. The group’s goal is to ensure the safety of domestic violence victims as they seek help living free from violence and to provide resources necessary to become self-sufficient. You can donate monetarily or donate items to help families starting out in a new secure home. The website is www.havenhills.org.
Finally, there is a charity called Heifer International, whose goal is to end hunger and poverty through helping people throughout the world become self-sufficient. Instead of giving a onetime gift of money, you buy an animal, and the gift keeps producing for a community.
For example, you can buy a flock of geese. In some parts of the world, geese eggs are more than simply being part of diets. A family can raise the geese and use the sales from the eggs to buy food, clothes, medicine and school supplies. The gift just keeps producing, making the recipients self-sustaining.
Other animals you can buy are rabbits, pigs, sheep, goats and even water buffalo. I am proud to say that a couple of weeks ago I purchased a flock of chicks for a family somewhere. They can raise the chickens and sell the eggs. It makes me feel happy that in a small way I can change a life for the better.
You can buy an animal for someone or you and a few friends can go in together and purchase one. To help, go to www.heifer.org.
By Cmdr. Renee Wike