To The Labor Of Love Project Team Spring 2015: By Renee C. Willis
The Labor of Love Project in West Covina Spring 2015 Easter was a huge success once again. We fed and touched over 800 lives with HOPE, food and scriptures on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles Saturday, March 28th, 2015. Our group is growing in leaps and bounds which is a clear indication of Favor from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In my humble opinion, Favor is the continued momentum of doing the right things, at the right time, with the right people, for the right purpose. Thanks to all who participated with Shirley Mirador and the Labor of Love Project team. We are celebrating our 11th year of volunteer service to over 800 people. It is a team effort and we appreciate each and every one of you from far and near.
In New York City, my hometown, I read a startling article, an excerpt of which is included in my editorial to the Labor of Love Project Team which is recapped below.
In a report by Stephen Kanyi, the number of homeless kids in New York City has been on the rise and will continue rising until drastic measures are taken, a new report says. Currently, there are about 25,000 homeless kids in New York City, according to Coalition for the Homeless. The group further added that the situation took a greater toll on African American kids. The growing issue could be solved relatively easy if the city created more reasonably priced housing options.
The most startling statistic about the homeless is that about a third of the homeless adults are employed, and the number keeps on rising. This fact seems to shed light on the pricing of houses in New York. Most houses in New York are still out of reach for most people, whether they’re employed or unemployed. This is a problem in Los Angeles as well – housing in Los Angeles County is expensive. Affordable housing is limited.
Our Labor of Love Project Spring 2015 Recap:
On Saturday morning 3/28/15, the weather was near perfect and the sun shined on us. The Sun gave us just the energy we needed for the mission at hand. We met in West Covina where the friends and family of Labor of Love project gathers every six months at the home of Shirley, Tony and their son, Kiko. The team that met there on Friday completed their tasks of shopping, organizing, assembling and preparing the care packages. We were met on Saturday morning with bags of food that filled the rooms of the Mirador-Ong residence. New recruits met returning recruits and the spirit of giving spread like wild fire. We are truly a family and this is our family reunion. We love one another and you can tell, by the excitement, anticipation, and the humility that filled the atmosphere.
The assembling of the bags included great food items complete with Bible scripture and love, as they were loaded in each of the vehicles headed for Downtown Los Angeles Skid Row. The circle of prayer consisted of dedicated men, women, and children of every ethnic culture, profession and background. We are a reflection of the diversity of Los Angeles County. We share one mission and a common purpose which is to deliver HOPE, LOVE and to feed the least among us. The circle of prayer was led by Larry and Renee Willis as a final plea to God for His protection, for Thanksgiving, for forgiveness of sins, for salvation, for healing for His sustaining grace as we caravan to and from Downtown Los Angeles.
We travelled to Los Angeles headed for skid row on our mission in a well-organized manner. One leader and many dedicated followers.
Upon our arrival we were ten (10) cars strong filled with food and willing volunteers. As we moved from 5th and San Pedro to blocks of people in need, we lifted the trunks of our cars and handed out food as quickly as possible. There were men, women and children receptive to our generosity and the message of HOPE. At times the need was so great it became un-safe and required us to move to a different location. Safety and Security is our number one priority. With the demand and the need of so many, it is hard not to become overwhelmed and emotional. We are driven and focused on the task at hand, spreading Love and Hope to our brothers and sisters in need. We are constantly reminded why we do what we do. There are reminders everywhere. These people look like us. We are extensions of the Most High here on Earth. This is not a job you can delegate. NO delegating, someone has to go to the Front Line and represent a mission much larger than you. Thank you to all of those who volunteer in whatever capacity you serve in. Your labor is not in vain. We all have a perspective and a story to tell. This mission means so much to everyone, we were tested and we have a testimony. I have grown in my faith and in my servanthood every time we serve. I hope to always share this mission with others. This is an opportunity to be other person centered and to change a life right now. There is so much to tell. All of us have experienced something that changed our life while serving on this project.
Here is my personal testimony: “The Alabaster Cross”
While feeding the people on St. Julian and 7th Street in the heart of the Los Angeles Mission district an elderly lady called to me. She just received a bag of food from us. “Hey, she said to me, come here”. I turned to her and said “you mean me”. “She said yes You, come here”. I went over to her and she said “Here hold this I have something for you”. The lady was in a wheelchair, obviously limited in her mobility, but had the brightest smile I’d seen in a while. She gave me a handful of incense to hold. She said enjoy them and share them with your Labor of Love friends. I tried to give them back to her knowing she probably sold them to make ends meet. She insisted I take them and told me, wait; I have something else for you. She reached down in her make shift shopping bag and pulled out an ALABASTER CROSS wrapped in a plastic bag. She handed it to me and said here, this is for you too. I un-wrapped the gift, and in the plastic was something precious. I was in awe as I carefully handled it. I humbly thanked her and tried not to cry. It was an ALABASTER CROSS. This cross is 4 inches tall and 4 inches wide. I was blessed beyond measure. For me it was an OSCAR, a TONY AWARD, a message from God through her saying our Labor of Love Team was successful on this mission of Love and Hope. This Cross is a gift for a job well done. The three Kings gave gifts to show gratitude and homage for the Hope of Glory. My mind went there. I was so full and had to maintain my cool to lead the group to the next stop to feed more people.
You know, we are better off when we give of ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing. The Labor of Love project is the gift that keeps on giving. I am always a little nervous as I prepare to go on a mission for the Lord. I never know what to expect. I prepare and I know we will be blessed I just never know how or when. I am honored to be a part of this project. I hope we continue to live each day changing lives one life at a time. We are able to be the change we want to see in this world. Stay encouraged and passionate about this project. Be about the change you want to see in your own special way.
Best regards, Renee C. Willis