Just a scant few months ago all you needed as proof that the spirit of community was all but gone in Los Angeles was get on the freeway at rush hour (which, by the way, was all day). Kindness was but a memory.
It turns out that kindness and community had only gone underground (we can only hope the same for the traffic).
“Kindness is back with a vengeance,” says Kari Mendez, speaking from first-hand knowledge. Kari now spends Wednesday through Friday afternoons standing before a line of cars filled with hungry families and, along with her cohorts, ensuring each one gets a box filled with food. Instead of securing event business for City Market Social House, a popular downtown event venue, Kari now helps to secure donations for EventLA, a new nonprofit organization started by herself and others at CMSH and Vox Productions — Nicole Stubbs, Joseph Piazza, and Shawn and Sara Sedlacek.
The venture came about in mid-March, when the city was placed on lock down. CMSH continued to order food from Sysco to give former employees a good price on staples. “Then, when they came to us with stories of deepening financial hardship we realized that everyone was hurting much more than we realized,” Kari says.
That’s when they teamed up with Sysco to order surplus food that might have gone to waste due to the closure of restaurants and live event venues. Recipients who register and qualify are given weekly time slots to pick up free boxes with groceries and basic supplies (valued at $50). In the first nine days, the team distributed boxes to more than 800 families.
“We’ve had 1,500 more people register over the past two weeks,” Kari says. “We give out about 200 kits a day from Wednesday to Friday. It’s very humbling. We’ve had people crying when they get their groceries. I feel more a part of this community than ever and the kindness is overwhelming.”
To learn more about how to donate, go to EventLA.org. Follow on Instagram @eventlaorg.
Photos: Loreen Sarkis|Sarkis Studios
Brand Therapy Takeaway
A nice note that goes out the boxes includes the list of groceries (vegetarian and non-veg) with personal statements from the co-founders about how we are all feeling the hardship of this time and that we are not alone.
Did you like this story? Read here about another great pivot: How Gwen LA Went from High-End Restaurant to Daily Market in just days.