40+ Volunteers Turn Out to Support SLNC’s Hygiene Kit Drive and Homelessness Education Day

By Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Homelessness in Silver Lake Committee Co-chairs, Darius Derakshan and Nithya V. Raman

On November 18, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC) held a multi-neighborhood, inter-generational Hygiene Kit Drive and Homelessness Education Day at the Silver Lake Recreation Center. It was a huge success! Hosted jointly by the Homelessness in Silver Lake Committee and the Youth Committee, with support from the 50+ Committee, over 40 volunteers showed up carrying donations and helped build close to 600 hygiene kits that will be distributed to folks experiencing homelessness in Silver Lake and surrounding neighborhoods.

The day began with a welcome by Anne-Marie Johnson (SLNC Governing Board Co-chair) and overview of the neighborhood council system, specifically how it serves the community on issues like homelessness. This was followed by a presentation by Nithya Raman (SLNC Homeless in Silver Lake Committee Co-chair) discussing the issue of homelessness, how it affects Silver Lake, and what Silver Lake residents can do to help. Afterwards, attendees jumped right into sorting donations and building Hygiene Kits in an assembly-line fashion.

The drive included a large number of donations and a huge turnout from local Girl Scouts, including Troop 12545 from Silver Lake (special thanks to Jennifer Avery), Troop 915 from Eagle Rock (special thanks to Michelle Alvarez), Troop 16245 from Los Feliz (special thanks to Erica Vilardi), and Troop 17425 from Silver Lake / Echo Park (special thanks to Asha Farris).

Local schools also played a major role. Nicole Federici and Abbey DiGregorio from Friends of Ivanhoe and Ivanhoe Elementary, along with Adam Moore from Friends of Franklin and Franklin Elementary, organized donations and delivered several boxes of donations to the drive.

Adults and seniors also got into the mix. Patty Jausoro and Stephanie Vendig, Co-chairs of the SLNC 50+ Committee, marshaled donations plus volunteers from the Griffith Park Adult Community Center. The SELAH Homelessness Neighborhood Coalition showed up in force, with many members helping plan and coordinate the drive, including Cathy Takemoto, Cat Kim, Janet Kim, Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, and Lisa Francois, who all went to engage with homeless residents in the morning and came to the hygiene kit drive in the afternoon.

The drive could not have been possible without the support of SLNC Treasurer Terrance Jackson, who accompanied Darius and Nithya for a marathon two-hour 99-Cent Store hygiene kit run, and Secretary and Outreach Co-chair Betsy Isroelit’s frequent promotion in the Silver Lake Newsletter.

The kits will now be used by Recycled Resources and SELAH to help those in need–and to hopefully start a conversation with homeless residents that will help them find a home.

For more information about the Homelessness in Silver Lake Committee, email Darius Derakshan at dderakshan@gmail.com
and Nithya V. Raman at nithyawriting@gmail.com.