Christmas is everywhere, even Downtown Los Angeles Skid Row. For the last 24 years on Sunday evening the church we attend, Central Community, has gone to Skid Row to feed the homeless and on the Sunday before Christmas they give out backpacks filled with goodies. Last night was Backpack night. Over 800 filled backpacks were given out by about 200 volunteers along with oranges, sandwiches, chili and hot tea. Everyone on Skid Row who showed up walked away with at least one backpack, a belly full of food and at least 100 “Merry Christmas”s.
All these backpacks were filled by members of Central Community or by another local church. About one month before backpack night Pastor Eric buys as many backpacks as he can as begins distributing them to the church members with the following instructions; “Put in the backpack anything that YOU would like to have if you were homeless”. With those words people begin filling backpacks and returned them to the church ready for Backpack Night.
When we arrived at 3rd and Main in Los Angeles there was a line of people at least a block long with a big huddle of people at the start of the line. The beginning of the line is reserved for the children and the disabled. It took about 1 ½ hrs to hand out all the backpacks and all the food. It was great to see the kids carrying their backpacks away with a smile on their face. Each person who received a backpack was quick to find a place to start going through their backpack. Everyone seemed happy, even though no one found a $100 bill in their backpack.
It was a true blessing to be a part of this ministry. The ministries of Central Community still are an amazement to me. How one church of so few members is able to give so much to the community shows that there is a Loving, Giving God.