November is Homeless Awareness Month. At the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles, volunteers recently gathered items for move-in kits for homeless individuals in Los Angeles who are moving into a new home - some for the first time in 20 years.
"The parishioners really enjoyed it," said Beryle Lawrence, Vice-President of the St. John the Evangelist Conference in Los Angeles, of parishioners providing items for the kits, such as cooking pots, sheets and a small TV. Lawrence and Joanna Batiste, president of the conference, drove a pickup truck loaded with three move-in kits to the Society administrative offices, where the kits were collected by Director of Vincentian Services Catalina Miller.
Also driving move-in kits to the offices were Antonia Clark, a Vincentian and secretary of the East Whittier Lions Club, and Vice President of St. Bruno Conference in Whittier Dolores Parks.
"The research shows if you provide this (the kits), they have a better chance of staying," said Parks, "We wish them well."
One of the recipients of the move-in kits is named Arnold. He has been homeless off and on for 20 years. The Society staff at the Cardinal Manning Center on Skid Row came to Arnold with housing. He was excited and grateful to move into his own place. When Arnold saw his move-in kit for the first time he wept. Once he put everything into place in his single-occupancy room, he looked around and said, “This is the happiest I’ve been in a really long time."
Rose is another move-in kit recipient. Her son passed away a year ago and she has been struggling with grief. After years of homelessness, she was excited to move into a place of her own. Her goal is to become a minister, to help others who experience the loss of a child. Rose loves her move-in kit. Rose said the first night with her new TV, she stayed up until four in the morning, watching movies and having popcorn. She is happy and grateful for her new home.
Thank you to all the Vincentian conferences that provided move-in kits: Santa Ines, Holy Name of Jesus, All Souls, St. Bernard, St. Ignatius, St. Dominic, St. Bruno and St. John the Evangelist.
Rose, Arnold and many more bless you.
Photos: (top to bottom) Lawrence and Batiste, Lawrence with a TV, Clark and Parks present their move-in kits to Miller, Arnold with his move-in kit and Rose with hers.