Returning home from a recent trip, Los Angeles residents Rachel Singer and Adam Catino found themselves sweating through their clothes in a sweltering heatwave. The scorching weather sent them on a search to buy an air conditioner to help combat the heat. They couldn’t find an AC, but what they did get was a new mission for the greater good. Following the suggestion of a friend, the two purchased 100 bottles of water and hand-delivered them to the homeless on Skid Row.
“They were gone in under 4 minutes,” said Catino in an interview with Lady Freethinker. “We immediately recognized how intense the need was there, and decided we would bring a few cases to those areas every day during the heat.”
The good samaritans now deliver water and other items to L.A.’s homeless on a regular basis, and created a GoFundMe campaign to help finance their efforts. As of this writing, the fund has racked up $3,500.
Catino said that through his experiences, he’s learned a lot about the basic goods that homeless people need, from locks for their tents to flashlights and other household items the rest of us take for granted. Catino noted that items most people don’t think of donating — like used socks and underwear — are usually welcome gifts to a homeless person. Instead of throwing these items out, he suggests packing them in a bag and dropping them off to someone in need.
So far, the reaction from the homeless community has been overwhelmingly positive, said Catino. “Beyond the standard ‘thanks’ and ‘bless you’ that we get, we’ve actually started to make connections and friends in the neighborhood.”
“They even know our car now, and wave as we roll up or pass by,” he added. “One friend there even gives us shit for not having it washed, and said he could spare some water to do so.”
One homeless friend, William, will grab a case of water and help hand out the bottles.
Those who want to join in the effort to bring water to Los Angeles’ homeless can join the Water to Skid Row Facebook group, where volunteers can learn details like scheduling and delivery tips.
“It is time we in California make an example for the world and care for our brothers and sisters that need us the most,” said Catino. “It would be shameful to do otherwise.”