Volunteers load donations of toilet paper for the Union Rescue Mission. (Courtesy photo)

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) continued its “Operation Love” outreach April 19, with a drive to collect toilet paper for the Union Rescue Mission (URM).

Located on skid row in downtown L.A., URM works directly with homeless individuals through its life-transforming ministry focused on the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. BHERC is a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of Black images in film and television.

The “Operation Love” effort was planned to meet a dire, essential, and practical need during the COVID-19 pandemic. BHERC asked the public, individuals and various organizations to join them by donating wrapped and or packaged toilet paper with a goal of amassing 2,500 rolls for URM.

With the help of the donors – some that delivered twice—3,841 rolls were collected. In addition, BHERC and the donors made a $15,000 contribution to URM. According to the organizers, volunteers and donors who came from across the southland represented all ages and ethnicities.

“There was a spirit of joy and camaraderie as the donations came in and the volunteers worked to organize the toilet paper and load it onto the Union Rescue Mission Truck,” said one participant. “Toilet tissue continues to be a vital item and one of the most difficult to find during the pandemic and it continues to be hard to keep stocked. So, this drive was very important and filled a specific need for the Mission.”

Sandra Evers-Manly, BHERC president, stressed, “Now more than ever, we need to practice more love and kindness. That’s why we started Operation Love.”

BHERC “Operation Love” has several other upcoming programs. On Saturday, April 25, at 5 p.m., the organization will host “An Evening of Reflection,” an online event to celebrate nurses and healthcare workers working on the frontlines of the battle to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will feature music, spoken word and tributes.

The group’s support of the homeless continues on Sunday, April 26, with the distribution of 300 packets filled with essential toiletries and health supplies. The items include gloves, hand sanitizer, face masks, lip chap and snacks.

“This outreach to the underserved and often forgotten continues to broaden a campaign that provides love and practical support that included services to seniors in Los Angeles over the past three weeks by BHERC ‘Operation Love,’” said Evers–Manly, who noted that more than 500 seniors have been served to date.

The packets for the homeless will be prepared and delivered by a host of volunteers including the National Black Nurses Association. Contributors to the packets include the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program led by Dr. Bill Releford, Mothers in Action headed by Tracy Mitchell and Larry Chatman, production coordinator for Record One Studio.

For more information, email [email protected] or call (310) 284-3170 or (213) 400-3489.