KIPP SoCal Provides a Health & Safety Holiday Season to the Montebello Community

KIPP SoCal Provides a Health & Safety Holiday Season to the Montebello Community

KIPP SoCal Family Ambassador, Monica Caratachea

Fighting Hunger and Feeding Hope with Heart of Compassion and Simply The Basics.

It’s clear that the 2020 holiday season is unlike any other. Many more family members, friends, and neighbors are in need due to the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help during this holiday season, KIPP SoCal partnered with Simply The Basics, a nonprofit organization that has the first large-scale Hygiene Bank in the nation, to provide hygiene necessities to Montebello’s Heart of Compassion (HOC), a nonprofit food bank and social service organization that works every day to alleviate hunger and the suffering of those who have fallen on hard times.

This past weekend, KIPP SoCal Family Ambassadors volunteered while social distancing at HOC’s annual Christmas Food and Toy Giveaway event for the Montebello community. HOC is estimating that the total food distributed this year increased about 38 percent compared to 2019, demonstrating the repercussions of COVID-19. “We achieve our mission by collecting, packaging, and distributing food to [systemically] under-resourced communities through public food distributions and through partnerships with a network of service agencies and programs,” stated Sean Strickling, a devoted employee with HOC. “Heart of Compassion is honored to partner with KIPP SoCal Public Schools.” 

“El mejor regalo es ayudar a otros — con una mano levantar y con la otra ayudar,” said Lorena Cuevas, KIPP Family Ambassador and KIPP LA Prep team soccer mom, about the importance of uplifting and helping others, as she volunteered distributing food, clothing, toys and other goods to families and individuals in need while following thorough distancing and hygiene procedures. 

KIPP SoCal contributed books and Simply The Basics’ hygiene kits to HOC’s holiday efforts. The hygiene kits included everything from new socks, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, soap, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, to hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, cloth masks, surgical masks, and menstrual care. “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with KIPP SoCal, which helps us to provide families with hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) at a time when they need it most,” mentioned Meghan Freebeck, Founder of Simply The Basics. “Our motivation continues because the need continues, now more than ever before,” stressed Freebeck. “In the same way that a person does not stop needing food after they have one meal, people do not stop needing proper hygiene care, and therefore we will continue to serve our [communities] for as long as they need our support.”

In particular, this Christmas event impacted nearly 1,000 families. “Había armonía. Llego amor,” Mrs. Cuevas described the harmony and love that was present at the event. 

KIPP SoCal Family Ambassador, Helicett Silva, concluded on the resilience and humanity in safely making an impact in others’ lives, “en estos tiempos de alejamiento encontramos maneras — en forma segura — como cercanos a los corazones de otros.” KIPP SoCal is proud to stand with community organizations in helping fight poverty and restoring hope.

As a reminder, we are hoping that we can all embrace the principles of community health and commit to making good choices by practicing safe-enhancing and risk-reducing behaviors, in order to protect your own health and the health of our community. Learn more, here

As challenging as our circumstances may be this holiday season, we know that our KIPP SoCal community is ready to meet this moment. We thank you for your love and compassion for others and wish all of you a very healthy & safety holiday.