Frogtown Neighbors Heed the Call - LA-Más Launches Northeast L.A. Community Response.
At the time this story was written, during the first week of May, it had been just over a month since LA-Más launched the Covid-19 Northeast L.A. Community Response, an initiative created to assist and support residents in Northeast Los Angeles communities. When the Covid-19 Stay at Home order went into effect, the Frogtown based non-profit, under the direction of Co-Executive Directors Elizabeth Timme and Helen Leung, quickly redirected their efforts and went into action to set up a phone chain, gather volunteers, secure funding and put together a plan to help neighbors in need.
Enlisting the help of two long-time neighborhood leaders; David De La Torre of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch and Ceci Dominguez from the Elysian Valley Senior Club, they began calling on neighbors to see if they were OK and and find out what kind of needs they might have. Thanks to the everyday advocacy of these two neighbors, David and Ceci, the Elysian Valley/Frogtown community already had a network of support. With their partnership, LA-Más was able to develop a more robust system to track the needs of residents in the community, reach out to even more neighbors, and provide immediate supportive services.
As of the first week of May, they have a team of over seventy volunteers and have partnered with neighboring businesses and non-profits to provide grocery kits, masks, activity kits and cash assistance to residents in need. With help from Co-Creators Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch, Elysian Valley Senior Club and collaborative partners Clockshop, Elysian, Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, Lemon Poppy Kitchen, Food Forward, Suay Sew Shop and The Bend and others, they have delivered 308 Grocery Kits, 284 Masks, 48 Family Activity Kits and connected 48 residents to additional services including direct cash assistance. Thanks to generous mask donations from Rachel Pally, Suay Sew Shop, Mutual Aid LA, and Council District 13, the've been able to supply seniors and families with this essential item.
You can find volunteers making weekly deliveries by various modes of transportation-even by bicycle, while making sure everyone is safe, protected and practicing social distancing. All of their food and activity kits are made in-house with the assistance of volunteers. The LA-Más team plan on continuing support throughout the Covid-19 crisis and until the Stay-at-home order is lifted-all with the intention of building a stronger community for the future.
LA-Más is always looking for more volunteers and are holding online training twice a week via a standing Zoom call. Additional partnerships, collaborators and donations are also welcome. To find out more, to donate or volunteer, go to www.mas.la/nela-community-response
About the Author
Michelene Cherie is a Production Manager and Content Curator for The Elysian Valley Arts Collective. She works with non-profits, animal advocacy organizations and owns a boutique marketing and event company - Cherie Creative Company. In her free time, Michelene volunteers for several cat rescues in Los Angeles. More info at: www.cheriecreativecompany.com