Sunday, January 5, 2014
December 25, 2013 Christmas In California - Part 2
Merry Christmas. Chrissy and I are off to help my friend Kathy and her mom (who is like a second mom to me) make lunches for the homeless in Los Angeles. I never know who if anyone will take the time to read this blog but I ask if you take the time to read this post, please click on the pictures and see them full size.
While Kathy made breakfast for her friends who have volunteered to help this morning, I took a few pictures.
Mrs. D and Christy
This rescue dog belongs to one of Kathy's friends that helped make the lunches today. He was wondering why he was the only dog here with so many dog lovers at the house.
After a delicious breakfast...
...it was time to get to work.
We made hundreds of sandwiches which were packed into a lunch bag with oranges, water and a special Christmas treat of a cookie, moon pie or Twinkie. The Twinkie brought on the best responses, one person yelled down the street, "I got a Twinkie!", another said " I thought they stopped making Twinkies."
Here's a group shot after loading Mrs. D's Jeep with food, water, socks and blankets.
Kathy's beautiful back yard.
Some art work on a fence in LA's Skid Row Neighborhood. I always thought skid row was a generic term for areas of a city that had SRO's or transient hotels. But the City of Los Angeles actually calls this area Skid Row. Because of my job, I have been in the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. I have seen what poverty has done to the people that live in those neighborhoods and to the homeless in Chicago. But I have never seen anything like this area of Los Angeles anywhere in America. There are people living on the streets, some it makeshift houses, some in tents and some just lying on the sidewalks for about a ten square block area. The following pictures were taken while Kathy, Mrs. D, Wendy and I drove up and down the streets of this area handing out lunches, socks and blankets.
The disparity of wealth was clearly evident just a few blocks away.
Being from New York City, the irony of a homeless person on Wall Street appealed to me.
Wendy has that incredible trait of truly caring about helping people in need, she caused a lot of smiling faces today.
After getting a lunch, this guy wanted to pose with Kathy.
Even though I know that the past few years have created more new homeless people than the previous couple of decades, seeing people who deserve better than this still bothers me.
Think about this just for a moment...you lose your job, then your house...you have no where else to go...if you had to carry the most important things in your life around the streets of a city...could you live like this?
This was the most beautiful Christmas smile I saw this year and all she got was a bag of food and a pair of socks. She brought a smile to my face as a fought back some tears because maybe some people down here are to blame for their problems. But there can not be anyone who believes this little girl deserves to be down here. So take a good look at the face of poverty in the richest country in the world.
It takes a special kind of person to be willing to spend Christmas Day feeding strangers. Truth is I have donated to food banks for many years now but I have never done this on my own. I have only seen the faces of the grateful recipients when I went with friends who do this on their own. Those two friends, Debbie Karr and Kathy Delgado, also know each other. We all went to high school together in Indiana. I have thanked Debbie in the past and today I thank Kathy. Being able to see the smiles on the faces, the thank you looks in their eyes and the God bless you replies when you showed people that someone cares about them was my favorite Christmas present.
Kathy even had food for homeless dogs and this one was as kind and grateful as his human companions were to get a meal.
It just seemed wrong to me to have this banner on a building in this neighborhood.
Kathy and her mom have done this on their own and with the help of friends for years. They now do this as a tribute to her father, Phil. Another friend of ours, Roger Goode, does similar charity work back in Indiana as a tribute to his parents. Together Kathy & Roger created a Facebook group called Uncle Phil, Rudy & Betty's Goode Deeds where you can donate your time, food or a few dollars that will be put to good use. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/192796389736/.
" I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" was written across this mural. I believe it is a quote from Thomas Jefferson and I love the message.
It seemed appropriate that a very well dressed man accepted a lunch from us when we parked in the Fashion District.
A few of the businesses were open today in and around the Skid Row neighborhood.
Again I ask you, if you had to put all that you hold dear to you in a shopping cart, could you?
After making the sandwiches for the homeless, I dropped Christy off at her Aunt Marilyn's house so she could spend time with her cousins while I helped Kathy and crew hand out those sandwiches.
So these people are not homeless, they are Elijah, Carson, Tiven, Marilyn and Christy.
We ended our Christmas Day at my parents house for dinner. Sorry Ma, we were late again. But enjoyed a turkey dinner with Jeff, Mom & Dad.
After a visit from this Santa, who I also recognize from my childhood...
...we opened gifts from each other...
...I love that my mom can be surprised by a gift that she asked me to get for her...
...it was great to spend Christmas with my parents...
...even if Chrissy wasn't as thrilled as I was...at least she enjoyed the weather.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.