Thank you to everyone who participated in my drive to provide a real Christmas to the Purple Room family. Last week I went to the apartment of the family to present all the gifts and gift cards and I was able to see first hand who we were helping and why.
Here is Mama Purple Room, her twins girl -hello! Adorable! and her son Andy -those eyes! This family which includes a husband, sister, brother, sister-in-law and a few random others live in two one room apartments in the same building in downtown Los Angeles. If you’ve been to LA, you know that living downtown is no bueno – it’s not Manhattan. It’s dirty and scary and it’s where you would find bank buildings and skid row. It’s not appropriate for families. Years ago, someone had the bright idea to try to make it cool to live downtown with a plan where everyone would buy lofts for cheap and within a few years downtown would be transformed into a Gen X/Y utopia with gorgeous Twenty Four Hour Fitnesses and Fresh and Easys on every block. Naturally there would be fabulous restaurants opening every five seconds featuring famous chefs from Paris and London. The whole thing would create an affordable and safe alternative to the way LA is now, spread out in every direction for miles and miles.
That never happened. What happened was a few people bought lofts and then the LA riots threw everyone into a state of panic and people hightailed it back to to the suburbs, back to safety.
Except some people do live downtown -people like my Purple Room family. In the one room, there were two beds and a crib taking up the whole thing. The twins co-sleep even though they are already big girls but there would be no room for another crib. There’s no room to walk besides a narrow pathway between the wall and the bed (which in the picture you can see we blocked it by putting a single chair there to sit on). There was a teeny tiny kitchen area where the grandma was making up a big batch of chicken to feed all the relatives who were visiting from Guatemala. Yes, all the relatives came to visit and STAYED THERE because apparently it’s better than their situation back home.
When I walked in with Elby and another mom from Mattie and Sadie’s class, I was floored by the way they lived. But they weren’t sad. They were incredibly thankful for the mother-lode of goodies we brought but I could tell that if they never got a single thing, their son would’ve still had that beautiful smile on his face and that light shining in his eyes. I sat and spoke to the mom and I found out that her twins were born at 28 weeks gestation. One of the girls was one pound at birth and the other was three. The smaller girl was an IUGR (Intra Uterine Growth Restriction) baby. I sort of relate. Yeah, just a bit. The mom’s brother told us that in Guatemala, the babies would have died and probably Purple Room Mama as well due to the circumstances of their birth. So he was just grateful for the fact that they were in America, where hospitals don’t turn people away in emergencies, he could have cared less that they lived downtown in one room. I was just dumbstruck that our preschool room was matched with this family, that you all out there helped me to help them. I could have cried but it wasn’t appropriate.
Thanks to all of your help, we were able to provide over a thousand dollars in gift cards for grocery stores, Target and gas. They got high chairs, walkers, car seats, tons of clothes, the work boots, blankets, shoes, toys and more. The other families from our preschool also were able to use some of the donations for clothes, books, games, blankets and food as well. We were able to donate two bicycles for one family, plus baskets filled with food and goodies for every family. This was truly a miracle.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone who helped. It was a beautiful thing.
I have one more shout out for now and it’s for I Love You More (The Sydney Ives Foundation). Someone who donated asked me to plug this website because they are doing great things. I checked it out and ended up crying so be aware.
One more thing, I am not taking anymore donations. I’ve received a few that I had to refund because everything’s already been delivered to all the families. I plugged a lot of charities over the last few posts so check them out and consider giving there.