Day 3 Tuesday East Los Angeles
X: Buenos Dias! Our morning started off bright and early volunteering at the St. Francis Center on Hope St.
B: It was awesome and very humbling! Serving the homeless and low income was a great experience.
X: The St. Francis center was a different feel than any other soup kitchen I have volunteered at because they really focused on community. They had round tables with about 8 chairs at each and they welcomed in only three at a time. They did this because they explained that people would build relationships as they waited in line and then when they would come inside they were able to continue those relationships as they shared a meal together.
B: Then we were off to Denny’s for a very entertaining breakfast.
X: we parked on the top floor of a parking garage and dared each other to look down at the world below us. On our way back from breakfast, Katie was dared to climb a tree on the sidewalk of a very busy LA street! Some people said, “She’s like a tom cat!” Then, while we all wanted to fit in the elevator back up to our car, some were dared to run through the parking garage all the way up to the top floor. I can’t really explain how funny this was to witness.
B: After this Denny’s adventure, we went to the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels and celebrated mass together. As we toured inside and outside, we found there is so much diversity between cultures. It’s such an open and beautiful space where all are welcome to pray to God. Everything from the floor tile to the tapestry on the walls had so much architectural meaning.
X: My personal favorites were, the piece of the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the tapestry on the walls. The Tilma is the cloth that Juan Diego wore when he received the sign of Our Lady of Guadalupe and where the Lady of Guadalupe left her imprint. The Cathedral of our Lady of our Angels is the only other place besides the Cathedral in Mexico City to have a piece of the Tilma. The tapestry displayed saints from all the countries of the world. These saints were placed side but side but also were positioned to face the altar. Therefore when people walked up to the altar it seemed like the saints were walking with them.
B: After the church we went to the Cardinal Manning Center. We were 40 minutes late to our tour after experiencing mass and were afraid we wouldn’t be able to tour. When we got to the Cardinal Manning Center they understood and proceeded with our tour. The center is basically like a homeless shelter for men of skid row. They have beds, showers, and a community center room where they watch movies. This was a neat experience for us to see the community coming together to provide one of many shelters for the homeless to feel called to.
X: One thing that they said that really stuck in my mind was that there is a very identifiable line between skid row and “the other world” which is down town LA. On one side of the street you see people in tents begging for money or food, and on the other you see modern buildings with people that look like they are on their way to work. After running to our car for our next adventure that we were once again late to, we arrived at Jovenes Inc.
B: Jovenes Incorporated is another shelter for men ages 18-24 to find a place where they can get cleaned up and figure out how they need to change to work in the modern world. This is a very unique place because they look at all the individual gifts and characteristics that the men bring with them. They look at the dreams all the men are pursuing to get better, and they take these factors and help them work towards their goals and support them.
X: After this, half of us were off to the market to buy food that we would prepare and serve to the Guadalupe Homeless Project at Dolores Mission. I think we REALLY worked as a team and made some really great food. We proudly cooked chicken Fettuccini AlfredoJ with garlic bread and salad. After this we all walked away with memories of great conversation with the people we served.
B: At this dinner it was fun to practice my Spanish with those who spoke fluent Spanish. Ximena lead a great prayer in Spanish to the whole group. After this dinner we went back to our host families for the evening. They all provided great hospitality and truly shared their culture with us.
X: As you can see we had a very busy day however my night did not end there. Both Anna and Christina’s kids decided we should go to the park. A group of us played volleyball, tag, and many other games. It was so hot and we all ended up with grass stains and drenched in sweat. Our day that started off with an alarm (to the song Chainsaw) at 6 am ended at 11pm in our host family’s beds.
Thanks for reading and Hasta La Vista from East LA,
Baili and Ximena.