Giving Season at Gentle Barn to donate to L.A.’s at-risk youth for 8th year in a row

Ellie Laks, co-founder of The Gentle Barn, speaks with children at the sixth annual toy donation drive with Los Angeles Police Department's Southeast Division. Photo by Michelle Shiers, courtesy of The Gentle Barn
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The Gentle Barn Foundation is collecting donated toys and gifts every Sunday until Dec. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for its annual holiday event to help at-risk youth in the Los Angeles community.

Teaming up with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southeast Police Activity League program, Gentle Barn will be hosting an event Dec. 20 in Los Angeles to give the children the toys.

The tradition started eight years ago when the nonprofit found out that children attending their Peace Enhancement program from the inner city didn’t receive presents for the holidays.

That’s when Ellie Laks, The Gentle Barn founder, decided to help out and make sure wishes could come true.

“Giving a gift to a child that wouldn’t otherwise get one and seeing the smile on their face is truly beautiful,” she said.

The 10-month Peace Enhancement program allows children to build relationships with animals, develop kindness and courage, step outside of the inner-city environment and learn to overcome their pasts.

Each year, in conjunction with the drive, the organization tries to expand on the year before to give out more gifts and more presents.

Last year, The Gentle Barn donated to more than 1,500 children in Los Angeles while offering face painting, bounce houses and other fun activities.

Gift ideas can be found at The Gentle Barn’s Amazon “Holiday Giving Event” List at: Sponsorships are available by visiting the website at

The Dec. 20 giving event will be at the Community Police Station located at 145 W 108th St. in Los Angeles starting at 11 a.m.

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