South Los Angeles residents receive a day of hope

Community event at Ted Watkins Park
Outreach ministry was part of the Convoy of Hope message to the South Los Angeles community on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. More than 4,000 people were served food, groceries, and shoes for children. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Los Angeles-It was a good day to be in Watts and South Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 1. More specifically, for more than 4,000 people, the day was a terrific one, thanks to the men and women from Convoy of Hope. Services, food, outreach ministry, and love were at the center of the daylong event.

A humanitarian nonprofit organization based in Missouri, Convoy of Hope used 333 volunteers to spread the love around to the local residents who showed up early at Ted Watkins Memorial Park to receive some holiday giving.
The giving centered around the 10,000 bags of groceries, nearly 3,000 pairs of children shoes, and 9,000 meals that were passed out during the daylong event.

Local clergy, as well as community organizers and leaders, came together to join Convoy of Hope on their mission to be a blessing to others. Jeff Anderson was one of those individuals. A resident of Watts for just a little more than five years, Anderson said that it was essential for local community leaders to come together for the benefit of the community.

Passing out free groceries
Convoy of Hope passed out thousands of bags of free groceries to South Los Angeles residents on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“The whole idea of this event is to bring all community leaders together to work for the good of the community,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of us. Regardless of who you are, you might be in healthcare, you might be in the community, you might be a pastor, you might be a like a civil servant, but rarely do they all come together. So the whole idea is to get all of us seated so that we can get to know each other, so we can help each other, share what we have and what we’re doing to make the community better, stronger and do more for our community.”

With the event officially starting at 9 a.m., an estimated crowd of over 1,000 people lined the park two hours earlier, waiting patiently for the distribution process to begin. Once the activities started, as many as 49 agencies representing health, community and Veterans services, were open for business. The National Breast Cancer Foundation was one of those agencies.

Looking to get more women in the community more aware of breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation served hundreds of women that came through their tent. But one overlooked agency found a lot of traffic coming its way during the day. While the excitement was all over the place about all the free goodies that were being handed out, there was a tent in the midst of all that ceremonial stuff that added a bit more substance to the event.

Convoy of Hope
One of the services provided to Watts and South Los Angeles residents on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, was a free breast cancer clinic sponsored by Convoy of Hope at Ted Watkins Memorial Park. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

There were a lot of folks looking to be ministered to and prayed over. This where Bibles were being passed out and individual and group prayer seemingly became the place to go many people who were looking for spiritual gifting. Pastor Robert Calvary of First Chapel in South Los Angeles, said there is a need for the ministry.

“It’s very important, especially with what’s going on today,” Calvary said. “You have people losing their homes, fires, people are poorer today. Today, you look around here, you have ten people living in a home, and they’re considered, as statistics say, as homeless. We want to reach out to them and let them know there’s still hope in the community, that there is love, that people here care for them.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1388 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.