June 2015

Feeding the Homeless in Los Angeles

The homeless feeding program in LA, which currently feeds around 2,000 people a month, was started in 1983 by Delia Parvati Javier, affectionately known as Mama D. Originally from the Philippines, Delia was a charismatic person who came to Los Angeles to work in the film and theatre industry.

Upon seeing the stark contrast of homeless people in downtown LA to the wealthy of Hollywood, she quickly gathered fellow actors to help her in creating this service project. Every Sunday morning, for the next 22 years, Mama D was on the street serving food and distributing clothes to her homeless friends.

Over 25 years ago AMURT signed the first contract with the Los Angeles food bank to receive and distribute food to low-income families, senior citizens and the homeless. The program has been running ever since.

The senior citizen’s Brown Bag program is on Fridays, serving 100 to 130 people weekly with canned foods, fresh produce, packaged goods, bread and diary products to supplement their paltry social security income.

On Thursdays, a large amount of fresh produce is distributed to 120-130 low-income families. The amount of food transported weekly is between 3000 to 4000 pounds and consists of USDA foods, surplus farmers’ unsold crops which the government buys and distributes to the food banks around the nation, corporate and public donations.

In 2010 over $800,000 of food products was distributed between these two programs.

On Sundays we feed the homeless at Skid Row in downtown LA. A long line awaits us down 5th and San Pedro streets at 8am for breakfast, where we serve fruit, warm porridge with sugar and cinnamon, yoghurt, pastries from Starbucks, snacks and juice.

We currently have 9 regular volunteers and 20 others that help on occasion, with an additional 12 volunteers assisting with the Sunday breakfast event.

Here’s a report on Mama D Feeds the Homeless in Los Angeles by Jayashrii (Jules Sorensen):

Mama D Feeds The Homeless is a local Los Angeles project under AMURT, a worldwide relief NGO.

We are dedicated to providing hot meals on Sunday mornings to the homeless of Downtown Los Angeles. Over two decades ago, my dear friend Delia Javier (Parvati) began this program. Throughout the years we have found continual joy and inspiration from our friends in Downtown.

Our desire is not only to provide a hot meal on a Sunday morning, but also to revitalize those in need of comfort, support, and consistency. On Sunday, representing the first day of the week, and breakfast, the first meal of the day, we come to create new opportunities of abundance for those who have lost their way. Our goal is to consistently connect with our friends and to provide them with an example of commitment through our actions. In our line, we have an even exchange. Our volunteers leave feeling as fulfilled as our friends are full. This simple exchange creates magnetic energy that keeps us going, week after week, year after year.

Although many things have changed in my life since Paraviti’s passing, there has been one consistent thing in my life that helps me carry the torch.

Mama D Feeds the Homeless makes me a better person each week. Sometimes I find myself feeling like I don’t know how we will move forward with the challenges we face. Recently, we have been cut off by some of our donors, running short on money, and therefore not being able to restock for the coming feedings. However, we always find a way to get through it.

This program has taught me that our friends may not only need our support, but we too need their presence to face the challenges that define our lives and our service.

Here are some ways you can help:

We are always eternally grateful for any forms of donations, be it a donation of time or money. Please feel free to join us on Sunday mornings at 8am on 5th and San Pedro in Downtown LA.

We’ve also set up a PayPal account that can be accessed through our Facebook page (Mama D Feeds The Homeless). You can also mail checks made out to ‘Mama D Feeds the Homeless’ to 1245 South Norton St. LA CA 9001


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