In the spirit of helping neighbors, Hawthorne Mayor Larry Guidi has launched a monthlong food drive to support programs for the homeless and poor at St. Margaret’s Center in neighboring Lennox.
The “Helping Hand--Not a Handout” campaign is the first organized effort to get residents in the area to donate nonperishable goods and personal care items to the family assistance center, whose budget was slashed 25% this year. The center serves 37,000 people a year.
“This couldn’t have come at a better time,” center Director Mary Agnes Ramirez said.
Located under the Los Angeles International Airport flight path, St. Margaret’s Center has been helping the poor since 1987. The center provides emergency assistance such as paying utility bills in the winter, assigning social workers and finding housing for the homeless. It also provides citizenship classes and immigration services.
St. Margaret’s also offers a food program serving 200 families per week with staples such as milk, tuna and cheese while giving the homeless daily sack lunches. Ramirez said the center spends $15,000 of its $100,000 operating budget on food, its most utilized service.
“A lot of people need us so they can get back on their feet,” Ramirez said.
Guidi said the response to his campaign, which started Monday, has been tremendous. Local grocery stores have pledged donations and the bins that have been set up for collection throughout the city are filling up. Guidi said he hopes to fill half of a container truck with donations.
“They do a lot of great things for people in this area and we want to help them as best as we can,” Guidi said.
Ramirez gave the city a wish list of the most requested items at the food pantry, including peanut butter, canned tuna and dried milk, in addition to supplies such as diapers, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Donations may be made at Hawthorne City Hall, along with the fire and police stations, until June 28.
Information: (310) 970-7905.