First, we drove through the streets of Skid Row; however, this was not a normal day down there because it was raining. [Which doesn't happen that often here, so when it does, people seem to panic a little bit.] Since it was raining, most of the homeless people had been moved into unused warehouses to keep out of the rain.
Usually, there would be hundreds of homeless people out on the streets-- and that's only the people in the very small area. The reason this small area is so crowded with homeless people is because "homelessness is ilegal" is the surrounding areas. Which I think is pretty ridiculous. They're just taking any homeless persons they can find and taking them down to Skid Row to fend for themselves. The cities don't want them "crowding their cities." SO STUPID.
So, Skid Row currently has 22 missions trying to take care of all the homeless people. My youthgroup went to one called the Midnight Mission. We served lunch to about 300 people. They also provide a drug and alcohol program and a place to live for those in the program. They serve three meals a day, every day. All the missions are run completely by donations.
It was really quite amazing because most of the people there were very polite and you could tell they were really grateful. I wish we could have stayed to talk to some of them, but after we were done serving, they all had left.
After serving at the mission, we went back down to the streets and we handed out blankets and socks. We had close to twelve blankets and many more pairs of socks and by the time we got to the end of one block, we had given out everything we had with us. How sad is that? There's that many homeless people that we couldn't even go more than a block with what we had.
And the people we gave the blankets and socks to were very nice and they were so grateful to get a pair of socks. I feel so bad for them and I wish that I could have done more, but our church is going to spend the next month collecting socks and blankets and we're going to go back down there and hope we can go further than one block this time.
It was just so crazy to see that many homeless people. And to think that is only a very small percent of all the homeless people just in California. Seeing them really makes a person see how much they take something like a roof over their head for granted. I just can't imagine what it's like to live like that. Being forced to sleep on the streets every night and being so desperately hungry..I just can't imagine. I'm never going to forget that day and I am going to continue to do my best to try to help as many people as I can.