Amongst all the COVID-19 pandemic melee, the homeless are the most vulnerable with social distancing, practicing hygiene and being safe at home not being options. It’s both a tragedy and blessing in disguise that it took a pandemic to get homeless men, women and children shelter via motels and hotels to keep them safe during this pandemic. Sharing Love With Others (SLWO) was making sure there was hope before the pandemic and despite these unprecedented times, they’re still providing hope now.
“With the homeless community increasing every day, you notice more and more people sleeping on the sidewalks and in cars,” said SLWO Founder Maxine Sealey. “The homeless on Skid row look forward for us to take food and other necessary items to them every Saturday.
“We have been going to the same spot for a year, we have not missed a Saturday since we started a year ago.”
SLWO is a non-profit organization founded in March 2019. Sealy shared she is a single mother, who has a passion for helping people in any way she can. The organization is geared to help the homeless community and the impoverished.
“I was led to create Sharing Love With Others, after becoming the outreach director of the church that I attend in 2004,” said Sealy.
She shared it was volunteering with organizations and connecting people with free resources to help the homeless that led her to do more.
“I had a desire to help people in whatever way I could, I wanted to connect to people to be able to talk to them, get to know them by name—that is what was missing when I volunteered with other organizations, the connection was missing.
“That is what led me to Sharing Love With Others.”
Sealy also shared the importance of depicting the homeless in a truer light. Statistics show many people are homeless for a variety of reasons. According to losangelesmission.org, there are over 53,000 homeless in Los Angeles with many living on the street due to issues like missing a paycheck, fleeing violence or being disabled.
“I believe that the media needs to shed more light on the fact that not every homeless person [is a] drug addict,” said Sealy. “There are many people that were living paycheck-to-paycheck and they became homeless because they cannot afford to pay their rent any longer because they are no longer employed due to illness or other reason[s].”
The COVID-19 pandemic made the homeless crisis even worse with many not being able to “shelter at home” and the threat of people being asymptomatic. On April 3, California State Governor Gavin Newsom announced the “Room-Key” Initiative which created shelters by leasing hotels and motels to families that are experiencing homelessness, during the pandemic. Sealy stated despite COVID-19 and the challenges it brings, the SLWO is still here to help.
“We are faced with the COVID-19 crisis,” said Sealy. “It is more difficult for us to help the homeless like we have done for the past year on Skid Row, but we have not stopped helping.”
She continued, “we still go every Saturday to feed them following the social distancing guidelines, for our safety and theirs—with the COVID-19, the homeless need to be protected just like us. Since this pandemic, we have provided much needed items like masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and educational material regarding the Coronavirus.”
Sealy isn’t letting COVID-19 stop her from helping others and the SLWO plans to be around long after COVID-19. She shared that if the community wants to get involved, she is ready to receive them.
“The community needs to know that Sharing Love With Others is an organization that is very passionate about helping the homeless community and we cannot do it alone—we need the community to help us help the homeless.”
“Get involved, volunteer and donate.”
For more information, please contact Sharing Love With Others at (310) 713-0126. You can also visit their page on Facebook.