Many of the YMCAs in Los Angeles have opened their locker rooms/showers to the homeless during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some, like the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, do not have these facilities but are helping to raise money to purchase supplies for a Shower Kit Drive.
The local Y’s campaign received a boost on May 13, when incoming Palisades Rotary Club President Trish Bowe and Past President Holly Davis presented a $1,000 check to Executive Director Jim Kirtley to purchase supplies.
“Jim approached our Board about this project,” Bowe said. “The Board unanimously approved the donation.”
This is the third major donation that the Palisades Rotary has made to aid the community and those in need during this crisis.
The first donation ($1,800) went to the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness on March 31 for immediate aid to assist in outreach. Cell-phone booster packs were purchased because “clients” (homeless individuals) could not charge phones in stores and libraries, which meant social workers could not communicate with those they were trying to help. Money was also used for hand sanitizer, masks, body wipes and gloves, which were given to homeless individuals.
On April 15, the Rotary’s second donation ($3,600) went to Palisades High School to help fund “hot spots” for students who didn’t have internet access at home. PaliHi technology director Jeff Roepel requested the donation from Rotary, which will not only enable students to complete the school year, but also continue to use the technology for summer school, if it is needed for credit recovery.
Regarding the Shower Kit Drive, “People have been dropping donations off,” Kirtley said, “including towels, socks, feminine products, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, combs and brushes.” Donations can be left at 821 Via de la Paz. A $50 donation will provide two shower kits. Visit: ymcala.org/emergencyfund.
Kirtley sits at a table in front of the Y, Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. to accept donations.
About 2,600 staff workers at YMCAs citywide have been laid off. Asked if the local Y could qualify for aid from the government, he replied that most aid has gone to smaller nonprofits and that this Y, which is part of the Metro Y, is part of a large nonprofit.
YMCAs rely heavily on membership fees, and since they are currently closed, there’s no income.
“The LA Y has had to make excruciatingly difficult decisions to furlough thousands of its staff and reduce pay across the association in order to stay viable and serve the communities of Los Angeles,” Kirtley said.