MEChA sets their sights on Skid Row

Cold nights on concrete floors, shivering from the howling Los Angeles wind, homeless men and women are in need and coming to their aid the Movimento Estudiantil Chicano Aztlan (MEChA) mobilized to provide support.

MEChA is having their second Skid Row fundraiser this year. Students will be able to drop off any clothing items, canned food and hygiene products until Nov. 18.

According to Christian Diaz, MEChA co-chair, MEChA and other volunteers will personally go out to skid row and hand out the donations.

“We take this approach because it lets us engage with and learn from the community,” Diaz said. “This would be our second time doing this. First time was in spring semester and it was highly successful.”

Skid Row, a 54-block area in Downtown Los Angeles, contains anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000 homeless people.

Melissa Robles, co-chair of MEChA, participated in the event as well by helping to organize and manage the donation boxes along with others members within the club.

“We will be purchasing some essential toiletries and gathering as much canned/ fresh foods, and clothing to be able to help our hermano’s that call Skid Row their home,” Robles said.

According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center, an estimated 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles during the year, and nearly 82,000 people are homeless on any given night.

The club were asking for donations of canned and fresh food.  However, the first time they were there, folks expressed their needs for daily essentials such as socks, underwear, toothpaste and feminine products.

“This time around we allowed for the Pierce family to get involved, along with their clubs,” Robles said. “That is what we are trying to accomplish this time around, really answer to their needs.”  

Psychology major Gabriella Montano said this is her first time donating and she hopes that she’s able to make someone’s Thanksgiving better by providing food and blankets for people living on Skid Row.

“Pierce is involved in a lot of things, so when I heard that they were doing a Skid Row Fundraiser, it definitely made me get involved because at one point I was close to being homeless,” Montana said. “Just having certain essentials during the holidays can make someone’s day and that’s what I would like to do.”