Serving Lunch at The Midnight Mission
We will be serving lunch to our neighbors experiencing homelessness in Downtown Los Angeles at The Midnight Mission. Your service during lunch may include a 30-45 minute tour of the facility and an overview of our program and services. Volunteers are welcome to dine in our Staff Dining Hall after their service.
If you are an individual and would like to make a donation of any amount, please click HERE or text the keyword “Meals” to 71777 on your cell phone to make a donation today OR donate to Midnight Mission's in kind donation wish list.
Coming from a small town in Northern England, I never witnessed anything quite like the homelessness crisis in LA. Before moving here, I could count on one hand how many times I had seen the odd person sleeping in a doorway or a park, or somebody asking for money or coffee. It was one of the first things that struck me when I moved to LA, and something I would regularly talk about to my family and friends back home. Seeing the extent of this problem was quite jarring, to say the least.
When I first got to LA, I commented on the number of people living on the streets, and a friend said, "Give it a year of living here and you won't notice anymore. You'll become oblivious to it there are that many." I couldn't believe what I'd just heard. That was what got me into volunteering. I never want to not notice, I don't want other people to not notice. We are in the middle of a homelessness crisis. We need people to notice, to volunteer, to help.
The thing that struck me with The Midnight Mission, was that it is much more than just a kitchen serving food. They offer a bridge to self-sufficiency through recovery services, counseling, education, training, workforce development and continued care services. They make available the necessities of life: like food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene needs and medical care. They offer a 12- Step approach to recovery serving people with empathy and respect and without sermonizing. The Midnight Mission is always looking for Volunteers. It’s quick and easy to sign up. They serve 3 meals a day 7 days a week. (That's a lot of volunteer opportunities!)
Our day started with a 45-minute tour of the facility. We learned about the history of The Midnight Mission whilst looking at all of the wonderful things The Midnight Mission offers to program participants, from a free postal service to an in-house Library and a basketball court/gymnasium.
Our tour guide (and all-around incredible human) Andrew shared his inspiring story with us, of how he came to work with The Midnight Mission. Only 2 years ago, he was living on the streets of LA, suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. He credits The Midnight Mission with saving his life, and that's why he pays it forward. He has seen first hand what it can do for people.
After our tour, we all put on our hairnets and gloves and went to work. Some volunteers served the food, others cleared dishes or prepped for the evening's dinner service. Everyone offered a smile and conversation.
What stood out to me was the range of people we served. Homelessness, poverty, and hunger affect people of all ages, from all backgrounds. There was a father with 3 beautiful, young children, a European backpacker, 2 older Japanese twins. There were also people who were suffering from mental health issues, people who need on-going professional help but have nowhere to go. It’s heartbreaking to see.
Andrew pointed out that sometimes all people need to see is a smile, or being told to "have a nice day." Because it may have been some time since they heard kind words or received a smile from a stranger.
I loved volunteering at The Midnight Mission, I loved the fact we got to interact with the very people we were helping. I loved listening to peoples stories and seeing all the ways The Midnight Mission helps. They do incredible work. I went home thinking about each of the people I served and it made me count my own blessings. You never know the curve balls people have been thrown in life to put them on the paths they are currently on. It made me very grateful for everything I have, and I also made a pact with myself that I am going to tell every person, regardless of their housing situation, to have a nice day with a big smile. There’s nothing quite like human interaction.
Contributed by Amber Hodgkiss, resisterhoodLA organizer, Actress and proud Wiganer.
ABOUT THE MIDNIGHT MISSION
The Midnight Mission serves nearly One Million meals per year to homeless and low income individuals and families. Our daily meal service is the only source of nutritious food for many of those living on the streets or trying to make ends meet. Our mission is to offer a bridge to self-sufficiency for those experiencing homelessness through recovery services, counseling, education, training, workforce development and continued care services. To make available the necessities of life to people experiencing homelessness: food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene needs and medical care.