Updated: May 30, 2019
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." - Mother Teresa
"Help the homeless" can sound so daunting, especially in a city like Los Angeles, where cardboard signs seem to be on every street corner, held by tired hands and hungry souls. I might as well ride off on a unicorn after I was done. Making a dent in the homeless epidemic seemed like a mythical "pot of gold" at the end of every rainbow. The further I pursued, the further away it would get. "HOW would I even help?", I would wonder. I would frequently challenge with questions like, "Would it even make an impact?" But after volunteering with The Giving Spirit for the last three years, my answer is a resounding, YES.
The Giving Spirit gives you the tools, supplies and opportunities to get involved depending on your comfort level. You can do anything from organize and set up behind the scenes, to go out into the city yourself to distribute bags FILLED with necessities. I love going out into the city to distribute. I get to look people in the eye, ask their name, hear their story, and offer them something really amazing; a duffle bag stuffed with goods, but better yet, I offer them dignity as a human soul who has a past, dreams, regrets, and a future.
And if nothing else, these duffle bags are a conversation starter.
Likely, the start to some of the most interesting and impactful conversations you could ever have in your life.
I went to help people, but I leave changed, every-single-year.
Below are some photos of the sign in, assembly of bags, and load up of trucks before the distribution begins.
"I saw brand-new, name-brand stuff. But I saw more than that. I thought, whoever did this, this is love right here .… And at that time I didn't think nobody cared."- Ezzie Richey (formerly without housing & receiver of a bag from The Giving Spirit. Today he is no longer homeless, obtained a degree, and participates frequently to others on the street who need hope.)
Pictured above are photos from distributing the bags in Santa Monica, CA, but there are loads of territories to cover within the city of Los Angeles.