We had a great evening cooking together for the incredible folks at the Downtown Women's Center. Enjoy some photos by clicking here.
Cooking the Meal, from Project Leader Karla:
Thanks so much for everyone's participation in the Friends of Downtown Women's Center cooking night. What a wonderful community-impacting organization! The DWC provides the homeless women in Downtown Los Angeles a place to call home. They provide breakfast, lunch and a late afternoon snack to about 100 women daily. The drop-in center also provides a safe place to take a nap, take a shower, watch a show, read a book, take art classes, change into clean clothes, use a computer, celebrate the holidays and one another's birthdays, interact with a supportive community, and many more services. In addition, there is a permanent housing facility that is home for 45 women. One thing that really impressed me was the on-site health clinic, which provides free medical care for the women once a month, and also free mammograms. According to our tour guide Michelle, last year they were able to catch 15 cases of breast cancer at the early stages, before it spread.
I was very struck by the entire organization. It was exciting to learn that a new larger facility will be opening in a year's time. I'm very glad the HVC found this community and I think we all walked away wanting to cook another meal and stay involved.
A great big shout out to the chefs: Jennifer, Lisa, Tara, Judy, Melissa, Vivian F, Krista, Margaret and Karla. Thanks to our shoppers: Karla and Vince. Thanks to our meal servers who came back the next day and interacted with the women (see post below): Vivian J, Melissa and Alison. Thanks to all who contributed toward the cost of the meal. The total came to $143.30, and we received a total of $270, so because of everyone's generosity we have enough left over to prepare another meal!! Lots of clothes and cosmetics were also donated by our HVCers and friends -- thanks so much for all that too.
The upbeat energy of our HVC Group, and everyone's willingness to just jump in and get it done with eager cooperation was apparent from the start. We're on our way, creating the change we desire! I'm truly humbled and incredibly inspired! Sincerely, Karla
Serving the Meal the Next Day, from Alison:
We really had a great experience at the DWC. Vivian and I were there at 10:30 (they didn't expect us 'til noon) so Vanessa, the volunteer coordinator, arranged for us to have a tour of the residential facility with one of the residents, named Maria, who was really amazing with all the facts about the place. Truly inspiring, and they are moving to new 'digs' within the next couple of years - a couple of blocks away, in a beautiful old building which is being renovated for them. Maria was full of stories about volunteers bringing programs to the residents, and told a bit about her own background.
The meal we served was FABULOUS - congrats to the cooks! This is a really powerful place. The staff are so sharp, and very caring. There is great dignity here. Every woman that went through the line, I wondered what her story was; all ages, all colors, of women. To everyone who put this volunteer opportunity together -- THANK YOU.