Supporting North Valley Caring ServicesMarch 1st, 2009 at 9:52
On Saturday, March 21 I will be riding my bicycle in a Bike-a-thon to collect pledges to support North Valley Caring Services (NVCS), a small community organization located in and supporting a very poor, at-risk, mostly Hispanic community just three miles east of where I live in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.
The Langdon/Orion Street neighborhood, where NVCS is located, is one of the poorest neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles, known for its gang activity, poverty, homelessness and dense population. North Valley Caring Services continues a herculean effort to help that marginalized community help itself. Their current programs include:
* A breakfast program and food pantry for the neighborhood residents and homeless folks in the area
* Early childhood education classes
* Parenting support including English classes
* After-school activities for children and teens
* Referral & health-related services
I seem to be getting more and more involved in the organization with each passing year. Two years ago I got recruited by a fellow member of my Unitarian-Universalist congregation to ride in the yearly NVCS bike-a-thon fundraiser. I was thrilled to be able to raise over $500 that year, hitting up my fellow U-Us for money plus asking my extended family to make a pledge to NVCS in lieu of a birthday present for me (since my birthday is April 2, around the same time as the event.) Last year, I rode again, raising even more money, but also joined their fundraising committee. This past fall, I agreed to chair that same fundraising committee. My participation has been a great blessing for me, since as any of you know who do volunteer work, you meet the greatest people that way.
At my U-U congregation we help NVCS and the community it supports in other ways to. We collect food every Sunday for their food bank. During the winter holidays we buy outfits for all the younger kids in their programs, which are given to the kids by Santa at the yearly NVCS Christmas party. Since we llive in an area where many people have citrus and other fruit trees in their yards (and much of it falls on the ground and rots), I am helping organize an effort to go on Sunday afternoon and pick people’s friut and take it to the food pantry. It seems crazy to have a yard full of rotting oranges when two miles down the street people don’t have enough food to eat.
So I will be riding in the 26 mile bike-a-thon again this year, hopefully with a bigger group of riders this year (we had about 40 last year), and despite the bad economy, gathering even more pledges for my at-risk neighbors to the east, and the wonderful organization that supports them.
I would welcome any pledge. I pitch my family and fellow congregation members to pledge a dollar a mile ($26 total) or whatever. If you would like to join the effort, and maybe honor my April 2 birthday to boot, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 818.298.5386.
Posted by Cooper Zale, in General