Lets.Give is an organization not just about giving, but also interacting. In tradition of our organization we traveled in large numbers to the heart of the issue. Packed in a van full of my fellow club members and my brother, I could sense togetherness and a light hearted vibe. As always, we were ready to work hard and put our all into another act of kindness. We started our afternoon off by gathering, along with a large neighborhood community, and enjoying some musical performances. Ignoring the sweltering heat, we then trudged through the streets of Los Angeles in search of trash and struggling individuals. Armed with shovels, rakes, trash bags and a mission, we collected everything from forgotten chip bags to suspicious needles, we cleaned the gutters and sidewalks. After a short intermission, which included some of the founding members addressing the crowd on stage, we made our way to the recreation center. It was there that we would contribute to setting up a haven of refreshments and other goods.
Once we reached the site we had some down time to eat and re-calibrate. Once we had eaten lunch, we were ready to be active in the effort. This consisted of unloading shoes from cars and organizing them in an efficient manner. We were there to support Hav-A-Sole, who collect shoes from major outlets and distributes them to those in need, across the country. As the people who would be receiving the items filed into the auditorium you could feel the excitement in the air. I was stationed at the women's’ shoe area. There was a very diverse group of people who came forward to claim a pair of brand new sneakers from us. Many of them were young children who were in search of versatile shoes that they could utilize in multiple circumstances. It was eye opening to see how mature they were forced to be at such a young age. Luckily the bright colors and patterns reminded them that they were still able to be a kid. All of them expressed extreme gratitude and most changed their shoes right then and there. Time moved quickly as the line of waiting people grew smaller and smaller. When we had to leave I had no urge to. Witnessing a small child’s face light up when you hand them a pair of new shoes reminded me why I am so privileged to be a part of something greater than myself. I didn’t want the event to end. Although, we did aid many people I still felt like my work was unfinished. There is always more people who are in need and it is important that we do not forget that sentiment.
Although it was frightening to give up control, we once again succeeded in creating a positive impact on many lives. The drive home was interrupted by a fruit stand stop and some running through the streets of LA. When we finally headed home the car was still in good spirits. I find that after each event everyone is exhausted, but there is a heightened sense of togetherness. One aspect that was interesting to witness was how easily my brother meshed with the group. It reinforced the idea that anyone with a positive mindset and a want to contribute is welcome to our group. Being diverse is what makes our club so successful in reaching a magnitude of people. After another day of giving we retired our worn out bodies and went our separate ways.