Dear California Friends,

To say this year has been devastating to us all would be putting it mildly. I don’t have the words to adequately express the pain and suffering we all face in so many ways. Whether it be physical, mental, or emotional, it is all pain. My heart breaks for us all.

I graduated from Dodge College at Chapman University this summer. While I would have loved to go home to Chicago, I made the decision to stay in California as my mom is disabled and immune compromised. I didn’t want to do anything that could get her sick and for now, it’s best for us to be apart. I work as a Postmates driver to support myself as I wait for the film industry to open up again and I am grateful to have food on my table and a roof over my head because of it.

One thing I know for sure is that when you are hurting, it’s best to do something to help another. It’s the natural medicine of life and right now, there are so many people who need help. We must take care of each other. For my small part, I will be continuing the Letters to Santa program. I brought it here from Chicago 3 year’s ago, where I have been doing it since I was a child. I’m so grateful to be able to continue it here. 

Unfortunately, we are unable to get children’s handwritten letters this year due to virtual learning and the Virus. We are however collecting gift cards, which we will distribute to the neediest families through the schools that we work with. Our concentration will be on homeless families with children.

We will accept gift cards from Target, Walmart, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Vons and Ralphs. Cards can be in increments from $25-$100 and we will make disbursements based on the size of the families served. I would be grateful if you could help us with this endeavor in any way. While I know it is impossible to help everyone in need right now, my hope is to help as many as possible. 

Gift cards can be mailed to;

Direct Effect Charities
STUDIO CITY, CA 91604-3136

We are also accepting cash donations made payable to Direct Effect Charities as well as Venmo donations @direct-effect-charities We do not get paid for the work we do, but we still have many related expenses to cover. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law and no amount is too small. 

Because I believe in being of service to those in our own backyard, I would also like to share this link of homeless shelters with you. By simply putting in your address, you can find the shelter closest to you. Many of them need blankets and coats and food right now and the sharing of those things would help a great deal. In Los Angeles alone, the death rate of the unhomed population has increased by 30% as the weather has gotten colder, and it is our responsibility as their neighbors to help in any way we can. 

As always, we appreciate your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. Please stay safe and let’s get through this together and the best way possible. We will never see another time in history where we needed each other so much. 

With Love and Gratitude,

Samara Fitzgerald 
Creative Director 
Direct Effect Charities



“I ask myself, how did this happen?” Letterman said. “And I’ll tell you how it happened. It wasn’t because of me. It was because of hundreds and hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who helped me. And I would just like to say, we have to help each other or nothing will happen" One of life’s absolutely universal truths, he said, is the great feeling we get when we help other people. “If you help someone, in any way, big or small, automatically you will feel good about yourself.” 

 ~David Letterman~

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