100 bags were sorted. 43 Volunteers were confirmed. We did some researching and found out that there was a migrant farm working community not too far from us in Bakersfield. We realized that THE Dolores Huerta Foundation was also in Bakersfield. A call was made and Amaranta picked up, her dad was actually a migrant farmer and head of the union. She was very pleasant and kind but overall just positive. She said we could make something happen, some how, some way, she would speak to her dad and confirm with Dolores that they could be our Partner. The answer was YES. Lets.Give officially was partnering with THE legend, THE legacy, THE woman who helped bring change. WOW.
How were we going to get 100 bags to Bakersfield? A call was made to U-Haul in Torrance. We told the Manager David about Lets.Give and our efforts, after some follow up, David confirmed that they would be making a $100 donation to help us cover the cost, our balance $43.
Once we get there, what more can we do? Our President, Naomie came up with an idea to do Arts & Crafts with the children. She reached out to her Culture Committee and the brainstorming began. Each member was responsible for purchasing the material for the idea they presented. The committee included Josh and Damon, formally trained technical dancers from THE Debbie Allen Academy. Aren't we blessed? They were set to perform. They went above and beyond a performance and mixed a track with one of Dolores speeches with a call to action in it. Paper planes were made, flowers with pipe cleaners and finger painting gave something for the kids to walk away with. Engagement was set. We weren't just there to deliver clothes, we were there to connect, to give love and to empower.
What more? Well music. Wouldn't a local station want to be down with us? More calls were made. Our Advisor Alma had worked with the fantastic Baka Boyz, from Bakersfield. Nick Vidal quickly forwarded some contacts inclusive of Leilani Shiu. Leilani immediately facilitated some email exchanges and La Campesina, which was founded by THE Cesar Chavez signed on to host. They would provide music for the day and refreshments for the volunteers. You got that part? THE Cesar Chavez started his own radio station to mobilize farmers. That station was collaborating with Lets.Give. We were almost there!
On our way...
At the meeting prior to our trip, LG split into 4 smaller groups. Each group had to conduct research on: Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Child Farm Labor and Migrant Labor Conditions. Each group then presented everything they learned about their subject, to the larger entity. By learning about the cause, not only did we educate ourselves and one another about a current, relevant cause but by increasing awareness, we were able to connect with their struggle even further. Jessica, Naomie's aunt had a friend name Jon Chuit, a filmmaker. He had heard about LG and wanted to help us. He reached out and asked if we'd be interested in a short film being made about our efforts, the Executives were advised and excited about the opportunity. Jon would be joining us for the day! Cliques had begun to form in LG and we are about unity, challenging comforts and building community. We decided to do car assignments to split some folks up and help in getting to know one another. Morea our Director of Hospitality brainstormed some ideas for goodie bags, which included fun activities & yummy snacks to make our 2.5 hour road trip a bit more fun. Sarah, Naomies other auntie asked if LG had purchased snacks for all the volunteers? We are a non-profit, with zero funds. The answer was no. A quick $100 dollar donation was made into our paypal and snacks were purchased for all. This is a movement! ALRIGHT! Now we are set! Our guest blogger & Sergeant at Arms, Anthony describes the event:
"Have you ever woken up in the morning and known that you were going to do some good? I’m pretty sure that that feeling triumphed over the grogginess and other sleepy feelings we had at Lets.Give before our event on Sunday, May 15th. With May Gray rolling into southern California, the organization’s officers met at our Vice President Hannah’s house at 7 AM to begin loading the clothes that would soon be donated directly to migrant farmworkers in Bakersfield.
After that had been done, Alma had us create an energy circle, where we helped each other give out good vibes, and just share the love generally. Our founder and president Naomie gave special thanks to Alma and the other parents for all the hard work and support they have shown us from the start. It was especially crazy that so many officers’ parents volunteered to give a bunch of teenagers a two-hour ride to Bakersfield. To help the hype and energy flowing through each and every one of us, Morea, our Director of Hospitality, had created goodie bags for every single member of Lets.Give the night before (BIG round of applause to Morea for supplying us with the morning rush we needed). With the sun rising over the hills of Torrance, the day commenced, and Lets.Give headed out to Bakersfield.
What was especially awesome about the ride over was that Alma grouped us together in a fashion that helped us bond with other members, making the rides cooler, since we got closer together. We all jammed out to music (shout out to Morea’s dad playing The Wall), and talked in our group chat. Vaj also helped make the ride bearable with his strange, philosophical quotes. In what seemed like no time, we arrived at our destination. There to meet us was Mr. Timoteo Prado, a representative of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, who we partnered with. It was such an honor to meet him, and we thanked him for helping make the event possible.
We began setting up the area where the adults would be able to choose the clothes they wanted, and the cultural division began setting up arts and crafts for the kids. In no time, there was a huge group of people there, and 90.5 FM’s La Campesina was there to provide music. The children flocked to the arts and crafts area, where they could do a variety of things. We all made them laugh and smile, and I think that was probably the best part of the entire event. Diego, one of our co-founders, and Hannah held races on the jungle gym with the children to see who could go through the monkey bars the fastest. I created some awesome paper airplanes with the kids, and taught them how to make them do tricks.
A little after noon, Josh and Damon held one of the greatest dances I’ve ever seen. Performed to a piano version of Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” the two entertained the crowd, and we even started a soul train with some of the children which was super fun. The day began to come to an end, so with the majority of clothes gone, we began to clean up. With everything clean, Mr. Prado and a woman with him gave us each meaningful, empowering speeches. With that, we all piled into our cars and headed home. Vaj gave meaningful contributions to philosophy once again, we joked in our group chat, and almost all of us took naps on the way home. I have to say though, it was well-deserved. I don’t think anyone else could’ve accomplished what we had in the weeks prior to the event, nor create the atmosphere we did that Sunday. Let’s make a change, and I mean a real one. Lets.Give.