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Nos Amis/Our Friends, Inc.
Children Helping Poor and
Homeless People (CHPHP)
2554 Lincoln Blvd., #522
Venice, CA 90291
Phone:  (310) 840-4777
Phone:  (800) 333-4349

CHPHP Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 5

May 25, 2003



Big Thanks to Daryl Sabara, Star, Spy Kids

1st Aimless Walk-A-Thon
A Great Success!

The 1st Annual CHPHP Aimless Walk-A-Thon, on Sunday, May 4th, at Clover Park, Santa Monica, was a great success! We thank Daryl Sabara, star of Spy Kids, his family and friends, our organizers, Sharon, Bill, Rex, Paula, Ron, Ryan, Parker, Nikki, Yolanda, Alan, Patrick, Chrissy, Paula, Antoinette and their families and our wonderful participants representing Cal. State Northridge, Carlthorp School, CLARE Foundation, Crossroads School, Malibu High School, Mountain Empire School, Our Lady of Malibu School, SMC, Stanford, UCLA, United Methodist Church, USC, Viewpoint School and more.
      We thank our sponsors, Sparkletts Water, Arrowhead Water and San Gennaro's Restaurant. And we extend our sincere thanks to all of our generous donors.
      By participating in this event and walking as many minutes, hours, blocks or miles as they wished, participants learned what it is like to be homeless. By raising funds through sponsorship and donations, everyone joined in the effort to help end hunger, poverty and homelessness.
      Many, many, many thanks to all! Now on to next year!

The Archer School for Girls

Thanks to the wonderful students of The Archer School for Girls for their financial support raised through uniform-free day, their lunch bags with canned and packaged foods and new backpacks! We look forward to continuing our work together!

Serving the Homeless
By Matthew

For the first twelve years of my life, I regarded those who lived on the streets with mistrust and fear. They were somehow not good enough to have food, clean clothes, or a home. My logic told me that they were living on the streets for a reason. God had abandoned them because they had done something wrong.
      This biased mindset continued for years even after I learned that God had not abandoned the homeless but that He was in them perhaps more than the rest of us. The turning point to that aspect of my life occurred when I was twelve.
      My mother had been helping an organization called Children Helping Poor and Homeless People (CHPHP) and she had managed to get me "volunteered" on one of their projects. This project involved packaging and then passing out food to the homeless on Venice Beach. The organization ran their program at lunchtime on Mondays.
      Naturally, the first thing I did was to argue, "Mommmm! That's the only Monday I get off school. Let me do what I want. I know I'm going to have sooooo much homework this weekend." But it was to no avail.
      When the day came, I was nervous. By the time I arrived at the packaging facility, my knees were trembling. I looked around at the other kids there. Most looked a bit like me but a few had the easy confidence of someone who has done it before.

      The packaging wasn't too bad. It was just like being part of an assembly line. But I didn't need a genius to tell me that this was the easy part.
      After the food had been packaged, we all got into cars and drove down to the beach. I imagined a long line of shambling hunch-backed figures.
      What I saw was different. They were tall, short, fair-skinned, dark-skinned, men, women, young and old. It seemed as if every different type of person in Los Angeles was represented here.
      It was here that I had my first insight. To be homeless you don't have to be old and disfigured. These people didn't look all that different from the people I saw everyday driving sports cars and SUVs, apart from their clothes and dirt stained faces.
      However, the fact that I had to get out of the car cut my train of thought short. My old biases and nervousness returned.
      Somehow I had managed to get myself assigned to passing out the bags full of food. The system was simple. The line of homeless people would go past and each kid would give someone either a sack of food, a bag of toiletries, or some cookies. Then, the child would go back, get another package and give it to the next person in line.
      Beforehand, we had been told to be pleasant and welcoming and say something nice like "Thank you for coming" or "Pleased to meet you." All thoughts of that vanished when I saw whom I would be serving first: an old woman who had makeup all over her face like a mask. She said, "Hello, Sweetie" when I gave her the bag and I jumped in one leap the full five yards back to where I was supposed to pick up the next bag.
      The next person I served was a young man who, like a mouse, kept looking furtively around him. When I gave him his bag and thanked him for coming, it was he who nearly left his skin behind in fright.
      The third guest was an old giant of a man. He politely took my bag, boomed "Thank you, Young Man," and continued on with a smile.
      I was slowly gaining confidence, and each person was easier than the last. I realized that these people were the same as anyone else. Anyone could be in their position. They were just the unlucky ones.
      Looking back, I see how this one experience has changed me. The biases I once held were unfair and unjust. These people, the ones we regard with mistrust and fear, are really just the ones we have turned our backs on, because God never turns his back on anybody.

Did You Know?  
"One in five American children lives in poverty. Poor children numbered almost 14.5 million in 1996."
The State of America's Children, Children's Defense Fund, 1998, p. 7.

  In faith and hope the world will disagree, but all mankind's concern is charity.

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