Post 283 Auxiliary learned that the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) was running low on hygiene kits. On December 6, members presented PPTFH co-president Sharon Kilbride with 50.
“Thank you, guys,” said Kilbride, a former Citizen of the Year for her volunteer efforts with the homeless. “This really helps.
She told auxiliary members that when social workers, who work with PPTFH, meet the homeless on the street, a rapport needs to be established. Many of those on the street are broken people and do not trust anyone.
Kilbride explained the process. “When we engage the homeless on the street, we start a conversation; we start to build a relationship,” she said. “We ask, ‘do you need a snack?’”
The conversation can continue as the homeless learn they can trust the people talking to them.
Next, those living on the streets might be asked, “Do you need a hygiene kit?”
In the kit, there is a new pair of socks, shampoo, soap, a razor, deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush.
The homeless are able to use the soap at the showers at the beach—but more importantly, it allows them to start to trust the social workers. The next step might be encouraging the homeless to attend a “meet-up,” which are held weekly down at the beach and at a site in town.
A meet-up allows the homeless to meet the Outreach Team and local police, with both groups offering services and assistance. Local churches and other volunteers provide brown bag lunches that can be given to the homeless at those meetups. One of the young homeless in the Palisades, offered this editor a cookie from his bag.
Kilbride said that one young man from Chicago was deteriorating rapidly on the streets. Through Project Homecoming, they were able to get a family member to take back. Before he left, he was given a hygiene kit. When Kilbride saw him at the bus stop waiting to go home, he was clean and shaven.
The kits, although, seemingly inconsequential for most Palisadians, help because, it gives some “a whole new outlook on life,” she said.
Kilbride said that many of the people they encounter, don’t want help, but the kits are given to those who seem ready to accept some type of aid.
The project was first brought to the auxiliary’s attention and approved in October, and then it was shopping at the local CVS and the Dollar Store to get 50 travel-size items of the various toiletries. Members of the auxiliary stuffed the bags on November 30, at the newly renovated American Legion Hall on La Cruz.
(Editor’s note: Since 2016, when the PPTFH was created, the nonprofit has engaged more than 165 individuals, who are now off the streets and in some form of housing. About 1,393 campsites have been removed and cleaned. The number of homeless fires extinguished by LAFD is six.
From July 2021 to July 2022, 699 new individuals were engaged by the volunteer response team, 13 people are waiting for a housing voucher and 23 have been moved to some form of housing.
To find out more about assembling hygiene kits, making lunches or contributing financially to the PPTFH, a nonprofit, which has not been supported by Councilman Mike Bonin and CD 11, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.)