On October 31, myself and a couple other urban campers went to Balboa Park, at Sixth Avenue and Hawthorne, to take part in a get-together especially for the homeless called “H.O.P.E.” The flyer that was passed out weeks earlier said free food, clothes, and blankets would be given away. Everyone had been talking about the event as it got closer to the 31st. We were so excited.
When we got there, it was early, so when the H.O.P.E. bringers started arriving, we helped them unload the food, water, clothes, blankets, and other items. They started setting up tables, and they even set up a place for people to get haircuts and trims. One lady was going around to make sure things were moving in an organized manner. It was cute — she was a little short lady with a megaphone.
They put up a huge tarp shelter at the north end of all the festivities so everyone could have a place to sit down and relax. Another young lady got the microphone and announced that they were from The Rock church and that they had a lot of things prepared for us. They started passing out tickets for prizes that would be raffled off and told us to keep the tickets because we could redeem them for a plate of barbecue later.
I am a homeless student. It brought tears to my eyes to feel that kind of love from complete strangers. They said prayers with us and brought entertainment in the form of children doing some serious dance moves to gospel music. A young lady began to sing. I couldn't hear that well, but I could see everyone smiling as we strained to hear her voice. Afterward, I heard someone compare her to Carrie Underwood.
A little later, an announcement came over the P.A. that police were at the end of the street. Within ten minutes, I saw the police at the other end of the ravine watching us. We began to pray. Not much later, I saw the police approach the people in charge and tell them we would have to "break it up." I thought to myself, Why would they want to stop this from happening? People are always talking about how we look and dress. This would have been the perfect opportunity for people to get good clothes, shoes, and jackets, haircuts and trims.
Some of the homeless began to leave. My friends and I decided to stay and help these H.O.P.E. bringers load up their blessings.