As Los Angeles’ burgeoning homeless population reaches a distressing 45,000, protests erupting in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles draw attention to the homeless crisis. Coupled with a promise by LA’s Mayor Garcetti of 1.8 billion dollars to contribute to the issue, it is clear that the homeless situation in our “City of Angels” has well-earned it’s “state of emergency” status. But you don’t need statistics and figures to recognize that, you need only drive under a highway to see the pop-up cities of our brothers and sisters. The scope of the issue is staggering and leaves any citizen of Los Angeles feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and ill-equipped. In the face of the plight of thousands of people, it begs the question, “What can one little person do?” And the answer is simple: do something! Helen Keller put it best when she said,
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.” What we need is a social movement grinding and working and striving towards solutions to support and defend the lives of so many needy.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization that seeks to help protect and equip the lives of the homeless and needy by helping them become self-sufficient. They provide financial and emotional support, food, clothing, furniture, appliances, and housing to disadvantaged people in Los Angeles. Their motto, “No act of charity is foreign to the society,” serves as the guiding principle for their selfless charity. This is an organization that dives deep into the plight and struggles of the homeless and sees them as individuals with names, faces, and stories, not a collective societal burden. They are investing deeply in the lives of the disadvantaged, forging life-long friendships, and deep relationships that hope to set people on a freer path.
This is our city and it is in great need of compassionate citizens and conscientious community-builders. The city needs an army of humanitarian volunteers, offering up their gifts and talents for their brothers and sisters on the streets. This city of angels needs people to be angels to others, healing wounds and offering solace. This city of smog, concrete, and skyscrapers needs a light of hope discovered in the deep charity of strangers. Our city of wealth and apathy needs a spirit breathed into it by the passion and altruism of volunteers. Be the angel this city needs! Here are four ways you can volunteer with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul: