Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Annual skid row giveaway by Fred Jordan Mission benefits low-income children

October 7, 2010 | 11:45 am

Several thousand children received new shoes and school supplies Thursday through an annual skid row event organized by the Fred Jordan Mission in downtown Los Angeles. The event, in its 22nd year, takes place on a closed-off 5th Street, converting the hardscrabble streetscape near the mission to a street bazaar of freebies for needy children and their families.

More than 60 employees from Foot Locker were expected to fit 4,000 children with shoes. The company also is donating athletic socks.

Nearly 300 additional volunteers were expected to help distribute new clothing, backpacks, school supplies and hygiene products. They also were providing haircuts and lunch.

One donor, Adrianna Reo, 50, was dealing with her own challenges after working 19 years for a hair-care and cosmetics company in the San Fernando Valley. Her employer was bought out, she said, and the new owner outsourced the human-resources department in which she worked to Costa Rica. She used part of her severance to start a backpack company, the Reo Bakpak Company, and donated 100 packs with school supplies for the event.

"Oh my gosh, this is so uplifting," she said. "I'm still looking for a [paying] job, because I need to work. But when I see these children, my problems can't compare."

Companies or organizations that contributed manpower and/or goods included: In-N-Out Burger; KIDS; Avery Dennison; Wal-Mart; Lucky Brand; Edgewood Press; Barbara Walden; Shelter Partnership; Phillips, Lerner, Lauzon & Jamra; Xpress Supplies; Early, Maslach & Van Dueck; Allen Schwartz; Fargo Logistics; Unilever and Kids Kaps With Love.

-- Howard Blume

Photo: Hailey Valentina, 4, gets a new pair of shoes from Jesus Silva of Foot Locker at the Fred Jordon Mission on Thursday morning. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times