“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
On Monday, May 27th we hit the streets to bring a little water and love to the community in Skid Row. Being our first outreach effort of this sort, we were all a little nervous. If there’s anything we, as The Donut collective took from this, it’s that there’s so much more work to be done! Thank you to everyone who supported and participated! Every second and dollar counted and will continue to count as we work on future projects for this community. We all left encouraged and inspired by what our collective efforts are capable of doing for the greater good!
We just wanted to take a few moments to share some of the personal experiences from the folks who volunteered. A BIG thank you goes out to Beans, Emily, Elysia, Jeff, Jungle, Alan, Liz, Joe, Donna, Grace, Katherine, Christine, Mike, Philip, Sam, KDuh, Kyle and Alex <3
- “My experience with Donuts was the first time I really got a good, hard look at Skid Row. I’d never seen firsthand so much need in such a small area. It was hard to believe that they were lacking water, which is such a fundamental need and also something that many of us take for granted. Though we know that the homeless (and other people with great needs) are out there, at times we get so caught up in our own personal business that we forget altogether that there are others who just need a little help. Skid Row was both a humbling and silently mind-blowing experience that gave me a nudge to remember to both be thankful for the many blessings that I have and as well as use those to help others.” Jungle
- “I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I was able to take part in this because I was able to meet the people there first hand instead of hearing about them through the media. I felt appreciated by the people there and that felt good. It helps me put things into perspective - both them and me.” Mike
- “Through this experience, I was affected by a revelation I had of the terms “brother” and “sister.” To my surprise, I heard a lot of “thanks my brother,” “God bless you sister,” and “good morning my brothers and sisters” from the Skid Row community. It got me thinking that yeah, we come from different families and cultures, but at the end of the day we are all humans mostly striving for similar ideals. Skid Row struck me with new realizations of the walls and barriers that keep us from seeing one another as brothers and sisters. Growing up, I always kept a distance from the homeless and rarely did I experience anything that humanized them. Oh how better of a world we’d live in if we all looked out for each other as brothers and sisters! For me, everything The Donuts stands for is building our community and breaking those walls down. We are all human, after all.” Alex
- “Spending some time with others in Skid Row reminded me how valuable each day of life is and how far a little love goes. In many ways I look up to some of those who call Skid Row their home because I know if I spent 24 hours in any of their shoes, there’s no guarantee I would be able to last another 24.” Beans
- “In retrospect, the times of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. That day at Skid Row, I felt two conflicting natures of the community that made me think of this. I saw those who had lost sight of that vision and could sense that they had been living in a prolonged struggle for some time. Whilst, another part of the homeless community there seemed to share a collective spirit of just taking it one day at a time. Its leaving impression on me made me wonder about all the different sequences of events that led to this becoming community and how we can discern our roles in bridging these sequences so that others don’t fall off the map. I think the first step is stepping out of your comfort zone to widen your perspective so that you may see more of what’s around you.” Emily
- “I have to say I was kind of nervous leading up to Memorial Day, as I haven’t had too much close interaction with homeless people in Skid Row before. I don’t know why it felt awkward in my mind, but for some reason I felt at ease once I got to our meeting spot. I knew that on such a hot day, what water we could provide would be welcomed with open arms. I only wish we had more to give. We are all blessed with so many things we take for granted, and maybe that makes us feel some sort of separation, but that morning I felt like we had come from the same place, but just that our situations had turned out differently in life. This helped me connect a little more and calm the nerves. I am excited about diving deeper into more interaction next time, and hopefully providing even more help to their needs in the future.” Kyle
- “It was an eye opener for sure, the sights to the smells of the streets, but past all the things on the surface, for a few moments we got to connect with the people of Skid Row and realized they are normal human beings just like us, trying to figure out the crazy maze of life.” Jeff
- “I walked into this experience full of judgment. I was scared of the tuberculosis outbreak in Skid Row, the possibility of danger and violence, the stench of urine… everything. But as I passed along just a simple 16 oz bottle of water, every single person I met was genuinely grateful, polite, and kind. There really is no room for judgment when a fellow human being just needs a bit of honest help. I’m happy to have contributed to this project and will gladly do it over and over again.” Elysia
- “I woke up early on Monday after having one of those restless sleeps. I kept waking up periodically, would turn to peek at the clock, sigh as I saw the time and then try to sleep again. The Skid Row event was upon us and I felt so anxious! The worrywart inside of me clouded my mind with unnecessary stress: Were people going to show up? Would we be safe? Would we have enough water? Would people come on time? Would they have a good time? These questions made laps in my mind throughout the week leading up to Monday, during the car ride to L.A., and even to zero-hour when we started walking, bottles in tow.
Although I had been to the area before, I still felt nervous. When I drove up with Jeff, we took a little cruise around the block to survey the neighborhood. As we passed an intersection to park, we heard a dispute, saw a woman pull her pants down, sit with hands folded, then get punched in the face by her mate. We parked and sat, both of us a little intimidated. A few moments later Kyle and Elysia pulled up. We started unloading the water as Alex, Beans and Jungle arrived. Alan and Liz followed. Then Joe called me as he pulled up with Donna, Grace, and Katherine. Soon after Mike and Pat pulled up. Finally, Sam and KDuh strolled across the street to meet us. In just a few short minutes, we were about 20 strong with roughly 500 water bottles, 60 1-gallon jugs, and 10 2-gallon jugs. I couldn’t believe it! The whole time, I kept thinking about a quote that our good friend Jhust shared a few night before, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead. What we were doing on Memorial Day was definitely not world-changing, but we were just a small group of people sharing love and water with people who are often forgotten, criminalized and looked at like garbage by the society that surrounds them. Although not world-changing, it was important for those who came to volunteer and those who were in need of water.
The problems that exist in the neighborhood are expansive, but I do believe we have all the resources and heart to positively impact the people who live there—be it small or large. There’s still more work to be done and I hope this is just the beginning of The Donuts’ efforts in this area.” Hannah
Until next time…
Love and Donut holes,