As the world is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, certain populations are falling through the cracks. People who are experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable and isolated during this pandemic. Random Acts supporter Amy Zhang saw how much her unhoused neighbors in Los Angeles, California were struggling just to get by and decided to help.
Kindness in the Time of Coronavirus
Amy’s compassionate nature was nurtured from an early age, with her father leading by example. “I remember what I consider my first act of giving. I was young (between 5-7 years old) walking with my dad in Chinatown. There was a man sitting on the ground holding a cup to ask for money. I remember being too scared to walk past him, so my dad asked me if I wanted to help, and handed me some money. I walked up to the man and put the money in his cup. His smile lit up and he said, ‘thank you’. My dad explained that the man was not a bad person, he just did not have money and is probably going through a really hard time.”
Keeping this example of kindness in mind, Amy reached out to Random Acts for help with her plan. Using funds provided by our wonderful and generous donors, as well as donations from friends, Amy was able to purchase enough supplies to fill 60 bags for her unhoused neighbors! Amy chose every item carefully, always keeping practicality in mind. “There were several items in the kits that I felt strongly about including: something with SPF, wet wipes (in lieu of showers), socks, and something to sit on as the sidewalks get very hot in Los Angeles. In response to COVID-19 precautions, I added a face mask and hand sanitizing wipes in each of the care packages as well.”
Despite a few setbacks due to COVID-19, Amy and her boyfriend successfully assembled and distributed the care packages. As they drove around Los Angeles, they made sure to respect the dignity and privacy of their unhoused neighbors. No photographs or videos were taken without consent, and Amy made sure to ask if they or someone they knew needed a kit instead of assuming they would want one. The care packages were consistently received with gratitude and blessings.
Flex Your Kindness Muscle
Amy explains why kindness is so important: “I believe the act of offering help is the best of humanity. Each person has this in them to help others in need, but this action needs to be practiced like any skill — it is like muscle memory. The older we get without using this muscle, the harder it will be to pick it up or feel comfortable doing it. The more we can encourage this ‘helper’ part of each of us to come out, it can eventually become a regular habit. And wouldn’t that be an incredible world to live in?”