Volunteering for the homelessAsk Nancee Lee-Allen what’s her favorite part of Christmas.

She will tell you it’s two things: collecting toys for low income and seriously ill children and the opportunity to serve a hot breakfast to unhoused individuals.

Her spirit of volunteerism in the community was recognized Sept. 23 with the Guiding Star Award presented by the South Central Los Angeles Mission Project. Lee-Allen received her award at a luncheon that also honored Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

In her day job, Lee-Allen serves as director of quality and risk management at Memorial Hospital of Gardena. She began working at the Gardena hospital last year.

“I was the executive director at South Central LAMP for two and a half years, and during that time I mentored the program director to become the next executive director,” Lee-Allen explained. “After leaving, I continued as a volunteer, and for the past 12 years I have collected toys and grocery cards for the families they serve.”

Lee-Allen also co-founded a group of volunteers who bring hot breakfast and supplies to homeless people on major holidays.

“The toy drive and serving our homeless neighbors is my favorite part of Christmas. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and family/friends who generously support my volunteer work,” she said. “It is truly a blessing to be able to give back to the community.”