Los Angeles Creative Community Rallying to Help Eradicate Homelessness
Activist artists are recruiting their own for a penny fundraiser
Los Angeles, CA – Recalling the first time she saw Skid Row, Australian-expat Bel Deliá says, “I was taken back. We don’t have anything of that magnitude at home.” An actress who moved to LA at the beginning of the year, Deliá wanted to do something but felt her hands were tied: like many in the creative field, she has to monitor her money closely to ensure it lasts between jobs. But when vacating her last sublet, an idea struck. She had been keeping her spare change in what she calls her ‘penny bowl’. She took that bowl and placed it beside a homeless man sleeping beneath a blanket. When she passed by moments later, the blanket was there – but no bowl and no man. She wanted to scale up the concept of sharing such penny bowls, and she knew just which community to tap for support: the creative residents of her new home base.
Deliá is targeting the artistic community because, “We’re a group that knows what it is to save a penny.” She goes on, “Artists like me come to LA to follow our dreams, and to survive we save every dollar, find cheap eats and free couches to crash on. Yet, however we start out, we’re likely in a far better place than many of LA’s homeless.”
Deliá floated her idea, dubbed ‘The Bill and Penny Drive LA’, to fellow Australian actress Nell Nakkan and LA-based filmmaker Elizabeth Nakano. The trio quickly got to work. Their first order of business: identifying a fundraiser recipient. They opted for Lamp Community, a Los Angeles-based non-profit with a solid track record of ending homelessness and an array of art programs, which Deliá hopes the drive will support in particular “because of the creative connection”.
Lamp Community CEO Donna Gallup is thrilled about the collaboration, saying, “We’re thrilled to partner with The Bill and Penny Drive! We are so grateful to them for helping to get the word out about our mission and life-saving work for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable, homeless adults.”
The Bill and Penny Drive LA will take place on September 22 at noon. Artwork from Lamp Community clients will flank a collection bucket into which Angelenos can tip their own ‘penny bowls’. 100% of the donations will go to Lamp Community. The venue is still being confirmed - “We’re in talks with a Hollywood location,” Nakkan reveals - but the fundraising and recruitment are charging along full steam.
Deliá has visions of the penny drive turning in to a monthly event. But for now her focus is solely on September 22nd. She says, “I want others in my position to be able to do something with what we have. If we can, why wait?”
About Bill and Penny
The Bill and Penny Drive LA will take place at noon on September 22nd. Updates regularly posted on http://www.facebook.com/billandpennydrivela and http://twitter.com/LAPennyDrive.
About Lamp Community
Lamp Community ends homelessness of Los Angeles' most vulnerable individuals, primarily adults with mental illness, through a continuum of services and housing, enabling them to reach their highest level of self-sufficiency and community integration. Lamp achieves one of the highest success rates in the nation for ending homelessness – more than 95% of the people they house stay housed for one year or more. Learn more at http://www.lampcommunity.org/