Due in roughly four months, Berry survives by selling incense on the Venice boardwalk.
When she heard someone was giving away backpacks full of food and other supplies at the Westminster dog park on Saturday, she was among the first to show up.
The sturdy black backpacks, which volunteers from the Giving Spirit like to call "survival kits," contain about three dozen items essential to surviving the streets in Los Angeles County, including a baseball cap, socks, soap, sunglasses, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hairbrush, sunscreen, lotion, a first aid kit, deodorant and bottled water.
About 225 volunteers packed and distributed 350 backpacks on foot in Venice, downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, North Hollywood and Culver City on Saturday. They delivered about 650 additional backpacks to seven local homeless outreach groups.
Volunteers made a special effort to reach women and children, distributing about 15 diaper bags full of feminine napkins, sippy cups, diapers, diaper-rash cream, baby wipes, baby sun block, children's vitamins, formula and bottles. In Venice, they partnered with Stand Up For Kids, a Los Angeles nonprofit that serves homeless youth.
At the dog park, Berry claimed a backpack and a free bag lunch and sat down to eat in the shade. She said life on the streets can be hard for a woman, especially one struggling with morning sickness. But she is happy about becoming a mother. She knows she is having a girl and has already picked out a name: Jessi Lynn. Things have been better since she and her husband recently got an old RV to sleep in, she said, although police often rouse them from local parking lots.
Her young friends, who also claimed backpacks, said they have tried to find work, but even minimum-wage employers are looking for workers with more experience. Miguel Pineda, 22, was laid off from his job managing a Starbucks about nine months ago and has been homeless — or "traveling," as he says — ever since.
"There's no work out there for a younger person," said Donovan Hage, 19.
The Giving Spirit is a nondenominational, all-volunteer, Los Angeles-based nonprofit. Since Brentwood entrepreneur Tom Bagamane founded the group in 1999, he said, 5,000 volunteers have distributed about 11,000 bags to Los Angeles County's homeless.
Browne Andrews, The Mayor of LA and Preston Smiles hanging out at last Friday's Fashion is Art Event celebrating art, design, people & lifestyle in Little Tokyo... Big Up to Gas'd Love and Shape of Light Studio for helping this community come together for all the right reasons!!
I feel that we all desire Unconditional Love, however, at some point along the human continuum we humans started to believe that Unconditional Love was something received, something given, an act. I believe that Unconditional Love is the same as God, the same force that was in action during what we call the Big Bang and what continues to seemingly move the cosmos away from each other at accelerating rates. And the toughest one to grasp (maybe the most important), Unconditional Love is even present during the most tragic events one can think of. Unconditional Love cannot be taken away, created, or destroyed. It is the beginning and the end, the dark and the light and so on and so forth. What we must strive to do is to live our lives, purposes, challenges, growth opportunities dialed into the frequency. What is prayer, meditation, acts of kindness, compassion, gratitude, joy, and peace? They are expressions of the frequency of Unconditional Love. All the signs that evolved i.e. religions, yoga, gurus, prophets were meant to point people to that unconditional frequency, daily and always in the present.
Life is meant to be a dance of Love (nothing more fun than this!) The moments that we tune off the frequency, we feel thirsty in our heart, etc. The second we tune back in, we feel content in our hearts... And remember, even when we are tuned off the frequency, Unconditional Love remains present, waiting for us to tune back in. The ways of practicing tuning in and staying on the frequency are as many as the number of people who have walked on this planet. Peace!