Gladys Moves on from Gladys
This is Gladys. She lived for 10 years on Gladys Street in Skid Row.
When we met her 4 years ago, we learned that not all Street Poor are addicts, mentally ill or lazy. Gladys was none of those things. She was simply poor with no real options in sight, including safe housing.The loss of her L.A. home occurred when her husband went to prison and later, when her daughter and 2 sons were murdered. Gladys, then 56, also had nearly 7 years of hard-fought sobriety.
Though Gladys was forced to live in street poverty and was even raped, robbed multiple times and beaten, she remained clean and sober. She also knew, inside her heart, that one day things would improve. That was 4 years ago.
We had been giving Gladys and her block of neighbors bottles of water, body wipes, food, tarps for about 2 years when she finally suggested we "go legit." It was clear the need for homeless aid was bigger than my pocketbook. Thus, DBDG was born -- a "legit" 501c3 nonprofit charity. Last summer, a safe bed opened up at a nearby Skid Row shelter. Gladys agreed to let us escort her there.
In 2017, she moved into a halfway house, away from Skid Row. She applied for permanent housing. Her health improved and she even began walking again.
Gladys, now 60, JUST MOVED INTO HER OWN HOME a few weeks ago! Her one surviving daughter, and mother of 3, is now also in a safe shelter and on a list for housing. There's more to Gladys' story, but the day we met Gladys was the day we realized she was one of thousands -- living in 3rd world conditions without access to Basic Needs, right here in our own backyard.
Everyone deserves water and a bathroom.
Torry & Lisa Say Sayonara to Skid Row.
Back in 2009, while living in a Skid Row shelter, Lisa met Torrey just days after he was released from prison. After leaving the shelter, the couple “moved in” together on Skid Row… and for the next 7 years, this tent was their home.
Despite many setbacks — addictions, more incarcerations, poor health, sheer poverty and couple's issues, to name a few — Torrey’s life changed for the better while living in that tent with Lisa.
Torrey violated parole recently and found himself back in jail. On the second day of his sentence, he collapsed — his heart lost 85% capacity. At that moment in time, Torrey was glad he was in jail and not fending for himself on the streets. “Thank God I got locked up. Prison saved my life,” he confided. Thankfully Torrey was restored to full health while he served his time.
In June of 2016, Torrey was free and back with Lisa, who had waited for him. Lisa’s dedication inspired Torrey to focus on turning his life around. And within mere months, with the help of Torrey's parole officer, sponsor and job trainers, and of course the steadfast help of a strong woman, he and Lisa were on the road... to a better life.
They headed out of Skid Row to Arkansas, for Torrey to start his full-time job as an 18-wheel truck driver.
We are delighted that Torrey and Lisa have moved on. As we handed them water and wipes for the last time, we joked that we are mutually thrilled to NEVER see each other again!
Why this matters
Measurable results on Skid Row are hard to come by. It’s not easy tracking those who actually 'make it out.' We feel so lucky to have witnessed Torrey and Lisa’s success after seven years on The Row.
As we drive through the streets of Skid Row, DBDG volunteers do more than hand out essentials; we take the time to listen. In doing so, we slowly build up relationships. We have our ‘regular’ DBDG patrons — we listen to their stories, we follow their ups and downs, and above all, we do not judge. We live by the motto: No Agenda, Just Pure Giving. We always remain hopeful that our friends on Skid Row can find a way to move on. In the mean time, we continue our giving and hope that our regular presence on the streets, handing out water, wipes and protein, brings a little relief and a little dignity.
Kobe Swaps The Streets for Suburbia
Meet Kobe — Super-Cute Street Survivor!
When Kobe’s first Dad, Twin, had to leave his tent on Skid Row… he was forced to give up his beloved Kobe.
We had watched Kobe grow up on the streets of The Row, surviving on scraps. When Twin broke parole and had to leave his tent to serve some jail time, his brother Kevin and sister Kode tried to look after Kobe for him. But Kobe kept running back home to his old tent on his old street. He was confused and kept wandering in to the street looking for his Dad or following strangers. During this difficult time, we kept a watchful eye on Kobe and saved him from being hit by a car more than once.
Kobe’s family knew we cared, so they entrusted us to find a new home forthis feisty little pooch. Drive-By Do-Gooders was honored to help out!
Now, Kobe lives in tree-lined Mar Vista, California with Sal and Concepcion, whose 4-year old pup Dina is Kobe's main squeeze! We found a great new family for Kobe and made sure his former family on Skid Row knew he was happily settled.
Click below to see videos of Kobe's first moments away from poverty— and the day he met his new Dad Sal and Gal Pal Dinah!
[LINKS TO VIDEOS]
WHY THIS MATTERS
Skid Row is no place for a pup … or a person …
The street where Kobe lived for 2 years is just one example of the conditions that our fellow citizens live in every day. There are nearly 10,000 adults permanently living in tents and makeshift shelters on the 10 blocks that make up L.A.’s Skid Row.
Although we were able to whisk Kobe away from the streets to a new and better life, it’s not that easy for the humans he left behind. Leaving the streets remains an elusive dream for many on Skid Row. The reality is that they need to cope with the hand they have been dealt and find a way to survive on the streets from one day to the next. Survival means ensuring that you have the basics: water, hygiene, food and shelter. Drive-By Do-Gooders specializes in providing these essentials. We drive directly to the needy to offer water, wipes, portable protein and tarps.
Dino & Nicole Make our First Pop-up Feeding a Success
When DBDG volunteer Anne-Marie was doing duty as a parent volunteer at her daughter’s school dance (she likes to volunteer…) she knew exactly what to do with the perfectly good leftover food that was in danger of being thrown out. She scooped up all the leftover taco fixin’s (meats, tortillas, rice, beans — and even some wayward glitter), loaded it into her car and headed home. The following day, DBDG held it’s first Drive-By Pop-Up on Skid Row — serving taco plates to 100+ homeless.
As we began to set up, street resident Dino greeted us and volunteered to pop up our table. In fact, he himself just popped up, instantly offering to help!
We served over 100 guests with tacos, rice, cookies and all-important hydration. We never go to Skid Row without ample supplies of water. With zero water fountains on the streets, H2O is always in high demand.
Why this matters
Dino & Nicole: When you have very little, it’s hard to find opportunities to give. But when we set-up on Skid Row, both Dino & Nicole saw an opportunity to give what they could: their time. They immediately offered to help and we were happy to have the extra hands to help us keep up with the fast-paced food service line! After volunteering with us, they both had huge smiles on their faces. Nicole commented that it “felt so good to be able to do something to help others.”
Theo: DBDG loves to cultivate the next generation of volunteers. Volunteering with DBDG gives young adults an opportunity to meet the residents of Skid Row and to witness their everyday struggles — and to understand that often even their most fundamental needs (such as hydration and hygiene) are not met. We hope that time spent volunteering with us will help to build empathy in the next generation of DBDG volunteers. We are happy to log Community Service Hours for our volunteers.