• Some impression from this year’s Thanksgiving meal that our board members shared with 15 young men and women, whom we have gotten to know over the past couple of years doing our outreach work. They are homeless, some sleep on friends’ couches, others stay at a youth shelter, and a couple of them are lucky enough to live in an old RV.

    We had organized a pick up at the Metro station in North Hollywood, and shortly after 2 pm, everybody started showing up at Denise’s place. Denise has the biggest heart; without thinking twice she offered to have the event at her house, and I am still amazed how laid back she was considering the mess we made in her kitchen. 🙂

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    The banquet table set up in the backyard was barely long enough to fit all 20 of us, and there was plenty of yummy food, more than enough for for everyone.

    I loved to have everyone together at the same time, sharing a meal and exchanging ideas.

    Getting to know these young people helps us to better understand their needs and find ways how we as A Million Drops can be more effective in the support we provide.

     

     

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    Food preparations the night before

     

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    Board Member Don with Darryl and Marquze, two of our guests

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    Good thing there was plenty of food…

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    Joshua, Jessica and DJ

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    AMD founder Maike with Jessica and Joshua

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    Too many cooks in the kitchen?

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    Marquze relaxing with a full belly

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    Denise, our wonderful hostess, preparing the stuffing

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    How many cranberries does one need to prepare sauce for 20?

  • Reaching out to you, we asked for your support. And you were willing to help. With your support, within only fourteen days, we were able to raise over $2,500, enough for a used RV.

    Bob, Alexis and AMD members Maike and Ross.

    Bob, Alexis and AMD members Maike and Ross.

    On Thursday, April 21 we did it, we bought an RV for our homeless friend Alexis. She moved in the same night, and her life has taken a 180 degree turn since then… She has been able to take showers in the privacy of her own home, has been able to cook and decorate and clean her clothes… and and and … all the things that we take for granted. And less than a week later, Alexis had her first job interview at a local restaurant.

    Alexis, Bridgette and Jada in their new home

    Alexis, Bridgette and Jada in their new home

    There are still things that need to be taken care of, like registration and insurance and some repairs, and we would like to be able to continue our support for Alexis for a few more weeks until she is financially secure enough to stand on her own two feet.

    Please consider making a small donation to support this cause! Your contribution will be tax deductible, and we will be able to provide you with a donation receipt.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at http://amilliondrops.org/contact/.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us help Alexis!

    Maike Both
    Founder/CEO of A Million Drops

  • … and we need your help to do that.

    When we first met Alexis in the fall of 2014, she and her two dogs lived in a tent on a grassy hill off the 101 freeway. We quickly became friends; we were humbled and impressed by how, in spite of her own desperate situation, she would still help others, always willing to share what little she had. Alexis took great pride in cleaning up, not just her campground, but also the surrounding area, and at some point Alexis even started growing tomato and other edible plants, and all the neighbors loved and supported her.

    This all came to an abrupt end during a raid by the sheriff’s department when deputies destroyed and trashed most of her belongings. Alexis was left with nothing. Not knowing where to go, and too ashamed to ask for help, she ended up on a side walk in East Hollywood, surrounded by drug dealers and violence.

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    We want Alexis to be safe.

    How Alexis was able to keep going is a mystery to me. I would have given up long ago. But somehow, Alexis made her way into Hollywood, where she found a street that felt it little safer than her prior location, and she started doing what comes naturally to her: she cleaned up.

    She picked up trash and she made sure drug dealers knew they weren’t welcomed on the block. Seeing the difference, neighbors took notice, telling her how much they appreciate her work and eventually, a kind and generous property owner allowed Alexis to set up a small shed at the far end of a parking lot and live in it.

    And she did; she make it her home with a bed, a small wardrobe, a shelf and a chair, and an outdoor camping shower. Again, she started growing fruit and vegetables, she even built a fountain, and continued to make sure that the street was clean and safe.

    Until someone reported her to the city. An inspector came out on Monday, 04/04/2016 and ordered Alexis to vacate the premises. Desperate and at the end of her rope, Alexis reached out to us. We drove over there quickly, spoke to some of the neighbors as well as to  LAPD Senior Lead Officer Paul Jordan, who has been very supportive of Alexis since she moved into his district, and together, we decided that we need to get organized and help.

    Of course it would be best if Alexis could move into an apartment, but time is of essence, and as there are more homeless than housing options in L.A.,  we decided the most simple and immediate solution will be to buy a used RV that will be a home for Alexis until we can find a more permanent solution. A couple of legal, overnight parking options have already been offered, all that is needed now is the vehicle.

    In just 10 days, we have been able to raise over $2,100, and we have started to look at used RVs that are for sale. In order to get a decent one, and to cover taxes and insurance, we need to raise another $1,400.

    If you would like to help us help Alexis, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/ahomeforAlexis. Every dollar counts and will make a difference, and since we are a 501 c3 non-profit, we will even be able to provide you with a donation receipt.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us !

    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us help Alexis!

    Maike

  • One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

    Join us for Rummage In The Parking Lot, our second fundraiser of the year.  Clothing, household items, books, electronics and more will be priced to sell!

    Bring a friend and join us for a fun morning of great finds that, in turn, help some of our neighbors in need.

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    See you this Saturday, April 16th, 7am – 2pm, 7990 San Fernando Rd, Sun Valley, CA 91352 (Enter parking lot on Lorne St./back of building.).

    Please share this with  your friends and tell them that all proceeds will go to A Million Drops to help the homeless and at-risk youth and young adults in Hollywood.

  • – Rummage In The Parking Lot –

    Join us for Rummage In The Parking Lot, our first fundraiser of the year.  Clothing and small housewares will be priced to sell; nothing will be over $5.

    We are also accepting donations of clothing and small housewares for this and future Rummage in the Parking Lot fundraisers. Donations can be dropped drop off on Saturday morning, anytime before 12 at the address below.

    See you this Saturday, January 30th, 8am – 2pm, 1548 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, 90027 (Between Sunset & Hollywood).

    Bring your friends because all proceeds will go to A Million Drops to help the homeless and at-risk youth in Hollywood.

  • Tips on Helping the Homeless

    Tip #1 – Acknowledge Them

    Life on the street can be very lonely. Imagine people walking by you, all day long, not even looking at you, as if you didn’t exist… I would very quickly lose any feeling of self worth. images-2

    A simple smile and a hello can make all the difference. Give a little of your time and talk to your homeless neighbor. There are so many paths that lead to homelessness, and each person has a different story. By  listening to them, you show that you care. And not just that. You will show by-passers that you care, and maybe inspire them to follow your example.

     

    images-4Tip #2 – Know How To Help

    It’s easy to provide practical and immediate help. You can keep granola bars and small bottles of water in your car, or pre-packed ziplock bags filled with travel size toiletries and a pair of socks. And don’t forget that many homeless have a dog for companionship and protection: fill some of the ziplock bags with dog food !

    Winter season brings extra hardship for the ones living on the streets.  Check your closet for warm clothes that you don’t wear anymore: a sweater, a hoodie or scarf, a pair of boots that you bought for a trip three years ago and haven’t worn since. Also, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags and tents are extremely helpful!

     

    Tip #3 – Understand

    Most of your homeless neighbors will be grateful for your offer, but you may also encounter someone who is having a really rough time and may be unable to appreciate your help. Please, don’t be discouraged. Just smile and keep on your way. You will find someone else to help. images-3

    One of the biggest problems homelessness face is being misunderstood, stereotyped and stigmatized. Every person living on the streets has his or her own story. Some are very educated and just down on their luck. Some are struggling with addiction. Others lost everything to medical bills, and some suffer mental illness. No matter what brought them to homelessness, they all deserve help.

     

    Tip #4 – Tell Others

    Talk with your friends, family and colleagues about what you have learned about homelessness. Maybe even start a blog and share your experiences with people outside your personal circle. If you talk and write from your heart, your compassion will spread; you will reach many, and they will want to join you in helping others!

     

  • Homeless Joshua Talks About His Gratitude

    Homeless for over a year, Joshua discusses where he’s worked, the immigration challenges he has overcome and his overwhelming gratitude.  Help A  Million Drops help Joshua and people like him by donating at AMillionDrops.org.

     

    Joshua Is Homeless In Hollywood Part 2 from A Million Drops on Vimeo.

  • A Million Drops’ Big Christmas Dinner

    On Tuesday, December 22nd, eleven of A Million Drops’ board members and nine of the young homeless and at-risk people we have gotten to know and like over the past year, gather at the gallery Wallspace for a family-style dinner.

    Wallspace owner Valda Lake had generously offered her gallery to set up for this event; tables and folding chairs were organized by board members Denise and Don, and the food was catered by no one less than Marcos Rodriguez of PopKitch, who served a delicious, three course meal!

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    Surrounded by art – what a great setting for our Christmas Dinner!

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    Board members Jenna and Denise with Chef Marcos

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    Morgan and Wolfgang, two of the young, at-risks artists

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    Casso and Andrew, whose art was part of our recent shows

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    Board member Don serving the meal to one of our guests

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    It was so nice to have all the board members and some of our protégées share a good meal!

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    Homeless artist Morgan with board members Denise and Don

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Everyone had a great time, the evening was filled with laughter and good conversations.

  • Our Christmas Art Sale Was A Full Success!

    Lots of people came by, everyone had a great time and many went home with a new piece of art. Here some of the happy owners of a new, original piece of art…

     

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    Xochitl and Brian came all the way from Murrieta, and they went home with two new pieces

     

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    AMD founder Maike Both with Jaimie and Robert who purchased a piece by homeless artist Alexis

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    Ken bought these three pieces that were donated to us by L.A. artist Kymm Swank

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    A very happy camper: Nicole went home with an original, signed piece by famous photographer Glen Wexler

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    Robert bought this piece by homeless artist Andrew Washington

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, artists, customers and AMD board members, and especially Lorna Donohoe and Nader Naderi, the owners of Wilde Wine Bar who invited us to have our art sale at their restaurant, we were able to raise $1,800 in just a few hours. This money will greatly help us help others, especially during the winter time, when even in L.A. the temperatures can go down to just above freezing at night.

    It was a beautiful event all the way round, and we are looking forward to the next one!

  • Troy Shares His Thoughts On Gratitude

    Troy, who has been homeless for some time on the streets of Los Angeles, discusses the challenges he has faced and the gratitude he has.  Troy lives in an RV with his friend Joshua, is going to school and trying to get back on his feet.  Please help A Million Drops help Troy by donating today.

    Troy, Homeless in L.A, Talks About His Gratitude from A Million Drops on Vimeo.