People

Instead of Going Sunbathing, These Two Friends Are Using Their Weekends To Help Their Communities

October 9, 2020 By Jessica Garcia

Instead of thinking about where to sunbathe this weekend, friends Kate and Diana are using Instagram to share their concerns about Los Angeles’ recent heat waves. 

Credit: Instagram | thisiskategray
Credit: Instagram | dlvpz

What is supposed to be the beginning of a fresh fall season filled with pumpkin spice lattes, is turning into some of the highest temperatures across Los Angeles. As shared by Kate and Diana, temperatures are expected to reach a high of 107°F. For some this might mean a fabulous sun tan, but for folks dealing with homelessness across Los Angeles it means intense dehydration and the possibility of heat strokes. 

With air conditioners and fans going out of sale, Diana and Kate began to think of how bad the heat must be affecting the homeless. This is when they decided to take matters into their own hands. 

By collecting donations through social media, Kate and Diana have been able to raise enough funds to distribute clean drinking water around their city.

On August 20th, Diana shared some snapshots of a successful donation drive. 

With the money she was able to raise through donations, Diana went out to distribute 132 “heatwave care bags”. These care bags included water, pedialyte, wipes, and an information sheet about cooling center locations. 

In response, Diana received a handful of supporting comments, one of them being: “I have been wanting to do something similar and been nervous about handing out bags too… thx for inspo.”

It’s true that social media can sometimes be a terrible space with hate comments, picture perfect lives, and harmful rumors. However, if used for a good purpose, social media can do wonders. “Through a few friends simply posting on their IG Stories, we were able to raise $431 and bought an equivalent of 204 gallons of water to various homeless [people] around LA and The Valley,” Kate glady expresses. 

Perhaps not everyone stops “to think about the bare necessities that the homeless population doesn’t have access to,” Kate mentions. “I also think that there is a stigma around the homeless for choosing their life, but that is not the case at all.” 

Rather than looking at the homeless population through this stigma, Kate and Diana hope that more people begin to realize that our communities need our help. With the current pandemic and economic crisis, there are many folks who are struggling to meet their monthly rent payments and are at the risk of being evicted. 

Diana expressed her concerns about the increase of homelessness in a recent post, urging the city of Los Angeles to cancel rent. 

If you’ve experienced any level of housing insecurity yourself or through proximity, you know the trauma and angst. LA has been a city characterized by pervasive poverty and homelessness whose mayor + CA’s governor have failed time and time again to adequately find solutions for – now we’re looking at about 365k household displacements over the next few months.

What’s most frightening is that these household displacements can happen to anyone – to your neighbors, family members, or friends. It’s for this reason that Diana feels it’s necessary to look out for her community and help out in any way she can. Everyone needs to have each other’s backs right now, just like Diana emphasized in her post. 

Unhoused Angelenos have been the only ones looking out for each other since before this economic crisis and they’re ~still~ the ones at the front lines looking out for tenants who are 1x rent due date away from possible eviction – a true definition of community.

If you’re trying to find ways to have your community’s back, you can donate money to Water Drop LA – an organization made to provide clean drinking water to those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. You can donate to their Venmo @waterdrop-la or to their GoFundMe page at https://gf.me/u/yjrn5v 

Credit:  Instagram | waterdropla

However, if you don’t have the funds to donate, you can go to Water Drop LA’s instagram page to learn about different petitions you can sign. Currently, one of the petitions they need signatures for is for the installment of public drinking water fountains in Los Angeles. To read more about the petition and why it’s important to Water Drop LA, go here

Amongst all the ways you can help, if you can find the heart and dedication to do what Kate and Diana are doing, do it. Use social media to raise funds, use those funds to purchase clean drinking water, and then use your weekends to give out that water to those in need. 

Even though the year 2020 has been filled with pain, stress, anger, and sickness, Kate is motivated to find a small light at the end of the tunnel. With ambition, Kate states: 

I hope that while this year has been tremendously challenging, it may have opened people’s eyes to their own privilege and how they can use what they have to help those in need…Though it may feel hopeless and divisive at times, it also feels like a very new chapter in our country and with that, we are realizing that we must do our own part. Rough times can lead to brighter tomorrows if we begin to act, though it may feel a bit bumpy along the way. But that’s our job as humans – to help each other out. 

If there is anything 2020 has blessed us with, it’s people like Kate and Diana who are using their weekends to help others in need in the middle of a pandemic. Stay safe and stay hydrated folks. 

So, do you want to do your part and join the PerSus community today? You’ll soon be able to download the PerSus app and get started making a difference in your community by taking control of your personal sustainability. Sign up below to be the first one to know when it’s live!