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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thankful for Volunteers, St. Paul's Gets the Call, "Time to Serve in Los Angeles"




Friday evening, more than 100 parishioners packed up 180 lunches while children made hand-crafted prayer cards for the homeless living under downtown bridges. Thankful for the volunteers, it is just the first day of a monthly outreach to the homeless from St. Paul the Apostle Parish in West Los Angeles. They call the Friday event, "Sandwich Builders." Food, water, prayer cards and clothing are then delivered first thing Saturday morning by a team that has been serving the homeless in downtown for more than four years.
Take in the photos and pray for those encountered - like Shannon, a beautiful teenage girl emaciated and suffering from addiction as well as Elaine - a young woman sweet, broken, timid scared and running from an abusive boyfriend. We remember - we pray!

“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says ... “Our God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought I would unofficially report on last Saturday's morning run of passing out the sandwiches. When we first started driving, most of the typical “communities” had been cleared out because of a movie shoot so it seemed like the morning might be a bust. Undeterred, we weaved through the streets and under the bridges until we found enough people in need to give out all of the food and clothes we brought. The sincerity of the tears and gratitude couldn’t help but touch all of us.

One of our guides, an old pro at this, correctly stated that they are giving us more than we are giving them. After a while, we started taking down names for anyone who wanted to be on a prayer list. Possibly you can add them to yours: Kevin, James, Kevin, Victor, Connie, Sheila, Tabatha, Ty, Jo Jo, Anne, Shannon, Meghan, Seven, Kitty, Antony, Elaine, Melanie, Tora, Eritleka, Leanord, Gregory, Blackie, Tee, Wayne, Heaven, Michelle and Khalid (a Muslim who asked us to pray for the Middle East.) We’ll add more names next time.

Of course all of our homeless family needs prayers, but a couple stood out, Sheila, an elderly woman with A.I.D.S. and Shannon, a woman whose sadness wouldn’t allow her to accept our charity at first. We kept offering until she finally came to take a pillow. Once there, she finally accepted sandwiches, a shirt and a prayer card. When she got back to her “spot” she made the sign of the cross and with a tiny hint of a smile, looked up in gratitude. That’s an image that gives one perspective on life.

A couple of years ago, I met the rest of the group that started this particular mission. Gary and I joined them for an afternoon downtown serving the poor. I went back to my self-imposed busy life, Gary continued to give his time and energy to take on this cause and eventually share it with St. Paul’s. Many thanks to Danny, Claire, Fr. John and the rest of the Social Justice Outreach Council for making it a reality at our parish. J.F.

ls said...

I appreciate your insights and giving us the names of people to pray for. I hope to join you sometime in your ministry. I will be praying hard for Sheila and Shannon.