Sunday, April 1, 2012

Calling L.A. Home

FOR THE  past fifteen years LMU students have been visiting Midnight Mission looking to serve their guests any way they can. Through serving meals or sharing company, Midnight Mission has been a bridge between two very different worlds. This year LMU hosted a day of service as part of its Centennial Celebration, and Midnight Mission was one of the service sites that members of the LMU community could serve. I was fortunate to be invited to welcome the crowd at Midnight Mission last weekend. I arrived early, about 7:30am, last Saturday morning and began to help set-up for the event. Countless of balloons and chairs later, skid row started to look more alive. If you did not look closely you might have looked past the countless guests that sat, slept, and lived outside the caution tape that surrounded the event. They are commonly called “guests,” but to these people we are the guests. While Midnight Mission does its best to help rehabilitate the lives of our city’s homeless population, it is not good enough. L.A. has a serious problem. L.A.’s economy may be in good shape, based on our Mayor’s words, but it is home to more than just small business owners, its streets are literally home to past business owners, teachers, military veterans, retired professional athletes, children, and many more. The walk from L.A. Live to Midnight Mission was the distance I used to walk to school when I was in high school. In this distance, L.A. changes drastically from five-star restaurants and entertainment to five-dollar living wages. My heart goes out to organizations like Midnight Mission that have positioned themselves at the forefront of our city’s war with poverty. I had the privilege of meeting one of the staff members at Midnight Mission who was previously homeless. He has once played for the Greenbay Packers football team; however, years later he found himself living in downtown L.A., literally. Angelenos like this one remind me just how swiftly our lives can be changes in this city. A lot of us call L.A. home, none more so than our homeless.

--Art Flores

Photo: Art Flores

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