Old friends and new friends were all a part of the LaundryLove HB experience for the month of February. Both with volunteers and guests, familiar faces mingled with new. This month, we were visited by Rev Kellie Grace Kurtz from Pomona and some of her parishioners who are looking to do a LaundryLove in their area. We also had returnees from the Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana, whose youth group has volunteered several times and is always so very helpful, especially in the earlier part of the evening when we distribute food and need their help very much. The Muslim men's group from Garden Grove participated as did many of our stalwart, experienced volunteers, for which we are endlessly grateful, since we were missing three essential founders of our program.
Browsing on Facebook the other day, I came across a post from, of all places, Johnny's Saloon. If you are so inclined, I suggest you stop by this "dive bar" as Johnny calls it. He was blowing off steam because of a friend of his didn't give homeless people money because they would just spend it on booze or drugs. He had a surprising amount to say on this subject and was in complete disagreement. He agreed there were the frauds, but there are frauds everywhere and we give them our money all the time. His view was of compassion. He learned it from his dad. Here's part of what he had to say about that. There was a lot more.
"I remember as a very young kid being scared of a homeless guy in front of us in line at Carls Jr. and the staff saying they would not serve him and trying to kick him out. My Pops spoke up and said "he is with me". The guy bought his food and my Pops gave him a $20."
He said his dad would always give someone who was asking a 20 and would also stop and talk to him. His son carried on the tradition, right here in Huntington Beach, and is familiar with many of the people who have no permanent home. As a teenager, he and his friends made a local street person an honorary member of their garage band. He knows their faces. He knows their names. He was shown by the example of a trusted adult about the value of compassion. I love seeing the young people at LaundryLove. It takes away their fear and hesitancy about what to do. It does that for us adults as well. In return, we get to meet some remarkable people and are touched and transformed by the simple interaction of caring.
Dr. Stephen Porges, a neuroscientist, studies how relationships work at the physiological level. He, also, comes from a place of deep compassion. He says that, "We make the world a better place by making people feel safe." Ancient wisdom and modern science. It is agape, the selfless love that says, while you are in my land, we will keep you safe.
Come on down to LaundryLove on March 12. It is at the corner of Beach and Garfield in the Honey Baked Ham center. You can do your laundry, help out, or just visit. If you can't make it but still wish to help, you can make a donation by hitting the "donate" button on this page. And always, should you decide to come down, while you are in our land, you will be safe.