Monday, December 21, 2009

Giving Back

Patty here…

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division police station organized Winter Wonderland, an event that provided food and toys to less fortunate families in the area. I volunteered to help.

I don’t think many people associate the police department with this sort of happening but it was just one of many similar events they sponsor during the year for which they do not get nearly enough credit. The officers deserve major kudos for their dedication and hard work in coordinating these events. Also worthy of praise, are the merchants and community members who donated hundreds of new toys (and yes, books) and bags of food to distribute.

A DJ played Christmas music. Santa was perched on his Santa chair, posing for photos. The Hungry Hog and Starvin' Steer provided free hot dogs and chips.

A community group paid for North Hollywood Ice to blow snow over bales of hay, creating a downhill sled run that delighted the children.

Local restaurateur Billy Thompkins of Tompkins Square Bar and Grill, located at 8522 Lincoln Boulevard in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles provided food for all of the volunteers. Whole Foods markets gave designer grocery bags. Everything was free. I wish I knew the names of everyone who donated items, but those I do know have a new best customer.

The need was great as evidenced by the crowd. The gates didn’t open until 5:00 p.m., but families began congregating at 5:30 a.m. By the time Winter Wonderland began, hundreds of people were waiting in line.

Unfortunately, we only had enough food for one hundred families. It was heartbreaking to turn people away. A girl of about five whose family didn’t get one of the prized food tickets, came up to me during the evening.

“We’ve been in line since eight o’clock this morning,” she said, “but my daddy was late and we didn’t get a ticket. Can we please have some food?”

At that moment, I would have given her my 401K, for what it’s worth, but as it turned out she was just one of many heartbreaks and joys of the day. I heard enough sad stories to last me for a while, but I also saw smiles and heard words of gratitude.

Next year at Winter Wonderland I will be in the food line helping out, but this time I’m going to chip in for groceries to feed a few more families.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve and as Tiny Tim once said, “Tip toe through the tulips.”


  1. Giving comes from the heart. Thanks, Patty--and Happy Holidays to all of the Nakeds!

  2. I grew up hearing,"it is better to give than receive." I always thought that was a sticky wicket, like it's a bummer to be on the receiving side !!

    But, having participated in like endeavors of volunteerism and giving of one's value, be it time, materials or money, I can say that it is always BETTER to give than receive.

    I know, Go-lo, how difficult it is to see those in need and despite all "our efforts" they are left without.

    Hopefully the MEANING of Christmas will be of the most comfort to those who wont.

  3. from Jacqueline

    Patty, this story has brought me to tears - what a wonderful contribution, and yet a sad reminder that there are always those who don't make it to the line in time. It's a life lesson, and our job is to see how many of the have-nots we can include at any time of year.

  4. Happy Holidays to you, too, Jeff.

    Jon, thanks for your words of Holiday wisdom. Receiving is pretty good, too.

    Our J, these times make me realize again how lucky I am.

  5. how heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, patty! thank you.
    you are a real trooper - my hero!!!

    happy christmas to all of you wonderful naked people!


  6. Here's the same back at you, Sybille. I bet you have real snow in your neighborhood.

  7. James O. Born12/21/2009 7:12 PM

    Thanks for pointing out other things police do. Too often people's only exposure to police is getting a ticket or hearing about mistakes on TV. You do a good job of broadening the public view.


  8. I often wonder why news agencies don't print the good stuff, too.