Celebrities, companies and volunteers joined together on Good Friday to give back to Skid Row.
Over 3,500 men, women and children were served by celebrities, elected leaders and other volunteers, while etnies CEO and sponsored skaters distributed shoes to the less fortunate. This year, social media played a role and the Los Angeles Mission raised 942 chocolate bunnies off of Facebook and Twitter to fill Easter baskets for the local children.
Skid Row residents enjoyed a prepared meal while listening to live music at the annual outdoor Easter event. A gourmet meal of tangerine-glazed ham, creamy spring peas with pancetta, mac and cheese casserole, Kings Hawaiian dinner rolls and Bonert’s Slice of Pie were donated and served to the hungry guests. In addition to a hearty meal, guests were given hygiene kits provided by the Helmet & Shield Group. Foot washing, a symbolic ritual of humbleness and respect derived from Jesus Christ’s washing of the disciples feet at the Last Supper, was offered by the Los Angeles Christian Health Center and volunteers.
“We love working with our community, to feed our community,” said Herb Smith, president of the Los Angeles Mission. “But our events go beyond the feeding of thousands. Our goal at our large events is to love our guests in all forms and through it, welcome every man or woman into the Mission to end homelessness in Skid Row.”
Guests lined up before dawn, and on early Friday morning they were served a hot beverage and breakfast sandwich as they waited to enter the blocked off 5th street for the Easter festivities, resembling a typical block party.
Led by etnies owner and CEO Pierre-Andre Senizergues, etnies has been donating shoes to the homeless during annual Los Angeles Mission Easter event for 16 years and has donated a total of 36,000 pairs of etnies shoes, 38,000 with this year’s donation. With over 50 etnies volunteers, including well-known etnies sponsored skaters; the company has prioritized the giving of well-made shoes to a community that needs it most.
“Skid Row is not an easy place to live,” says Pierre-Andre Senizergues, owner and CEO of etnies. “Every time we come down here, we see just how important it is for the homeless to have comfortable and durable shoes to wear each day. By giving a new pair of etnies shoes to an individual who truly needs it, we are communicating that we care and that we hope that they will find a way to get back on their feet.”
Leading up to the event, Easter baskets were prepared with toys and candy by volunteers including high school and college students spending their Spring Break at the Mission. 992 chocolate bunnies were ushered in on social media using Facebook and Twitter helping provide a memorable Easter for the children living in Skid Row. Baskets were distributed to the children that attended the Easter event.
Social media continues to help the Mission as SizzlePitch Productions (
SizzlePitch) and Gardein (Gardein), a meatless food distributor, offered to sponsor the event’s “hashtag:” #SkidRowEaster on Twitter for $1,000. If the hashtag is used 1,000 times on Good Friday, the Mission will receive a donation of $1,000.
The Los Angeles Mission provides long-term rehabilitation, education, job training, emergency services and more to people in need. More than 1,500 come in every day for a meal. The Mission relies heavily on volunteers and donations to assist the thousands that come in for help. Even the utensils for the Easter event were donated by Landsberg Amcor and prepared by volunteers. Gideon Bibles were provided and a Tom Lackey art exhibit of the Holy Land helped complete the Easter event celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope of new life.
“Our volunteers and donors help our staff serve Skid Row every day. If we bring hope to the streets of Skid Row to at least one person at our Easter event, the day was a success,” said Smith.