Masks for Meals
Since our face masks arrived, I’ve been frequenting businesses and organizations in our community delivering masks for employees and their families, unexpected, unannounced. I’m always greeted with an identical smile and heartfelt thank you. This afternoon, I stopped by our police station and drop off boxes of masks and was greeted the same way, knowing that we lost one of our officers, a few weeks ago to the virus. I left there feeling it wasn’t enough. I pulled over and sent a message a to friend of mine, Helix Wolfson.
Helix is a talented and creative LA director and producer, but what I admire most about him is his ability to connect people. So, I asked him, in the middle of a pandemic, how do you stay so involved and engage so many others to do so much good in your community. Now, this is where I typically paraphrase something and point to a link, but this time, I’d like to share his words.
It’s easy to lose yourself in isolation, to become insular, to withdraw from the world. I think as humans we have an instinct to pull away from support when we need it most, to wallow in the despair. But imagine what would happen if we all gave into that feeling. That’s not a world I want to live in. I believe that these times require us to reach out more than ever.
Your family, your friends, your community needs you to show up so that they know they are not alone, that we are all in this together. And the truth is the antidote to loneliness is showing up for others. Nothing makes you feel more vital, more alive than putting your needs aside to be of service.
That’s how I chose to spend my quarantine. Now I am not saying it was easy, or that I didn’t give into the despair myself, because I certainly did…for about a week. And then I realized that watching the news all day, worrying about what was going to happen wasn’t going to make anything better, it certainly didn’t make me feel better, it just made me feel helpless.
So I took stock of my own situation and quickly realized that I had it pretty damned good. I have a beautiful home and a nice backyard with plenty of space. I have my health. I have savings. And I realized I was lucky and that there were people in my immediate community as well as people living on the streets who were not so lucky.
The second I got active helping people everything changed for me. I found purpose and meaning. I started with a live streaming fundraiser, giving my performer friends a way to generate some income by sharing their talent. We raised $4000 in two hours, half of which went to the performers and the other half to the Midnight Mission an organization here in Los Angeles doing work with people experiencing homelessness.
I followed that up with an initiative I called The Brown Bag Challenge, making 100’s of bag lunches for people on the street. And last weekend I threw an all-day live streaming event for my birthday with the goal of raising $10K for the Midnight Mission. We are about halfway there and hoping to hit the goal by the end of the month. You can donate here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/267956117723753
The more I have focused my energy outward during this time the more empowered, the more alive and purposeful I have felt. So, while it sounds like I have been selfless during this time, you could just as easily say I have been selfish. Because giving makes me feel so good!
With Helix’s motivation in mind, we have decided to make our personal face masks available to all customers, with 100% of the profits going to local food banks and community centers including Helpline House and neighboring Fishline, through the end of the month. We encourage you to support Midnight Mission, Masks for Meals or your own community efforts, because giving makes all of us feel good!