By BRENDAN O'SHEA     11/21/2023

The Skid Row Ministry is an experience the entire family can participate in together. It is based out of St. Martin de Porres parish in Yorba Linda and is open for anybody to attend. Most volunteers are 20 years of age or younger, which is truly an inspiration.

Earlier this fall, the ministry made its 100th mission to Skid Row.

On Sunday, Sept. 17, the ministry had 22 cars and over 60 volunteers arrive at the Midnight Mission on Skid Row. We provided water, lunches, clothes and hygiene kits to the people living on the sidewalks of L.A. On Saturday, Sept. 16, we met with over 100 volunteers from various organizations to make over 300 sack lunches and collect donations of clothes, shoes and basic essentials for our Sunday caravan.

The ministry started in 2008 and over the next 15 years has met approximately every six weeks. Each trip brings about a dozen first timers. We are grateful for the fact that with every mission we get to provide for our regulars and our first timers an opportunity to witness the realities and struggles of life on the streets.

Peter Medina, one of the new ministry leaders, had this to say:

“You can see images on TV or on social media about Skid Row. How people need help. It doesn’t become real until you put your two feet on the sidewalk. It becomes your reality. That this is the reality of your community. Yes, Skid Row is part of mine and your community. Do I have the answer to this crisis? No, but I know God does. For one day I am able to be the face of Christ to my brothers and sisters. Right inside beside my shepherd. Giving them one day of dignity and helping to lift them up and find some way out of their situation. I also realized that one day on the sidewalk is not enough. Looking forward to the next visit with my brothers and sisters for Christ.”

David Medina, another new ministry leaders, shared:

“My experience is one of mixed feelings of sadness and hope. Everyone is aware of the homeless situation and how bad it is but after experiencing it for myself, I realize no one is really aware of how bad it is on Skid Row. It is sad to see how people are surviving in the streets. Third World countries aren’t as bad as Skid Row. It is hard to believe that this is happening in our own backyard. The beauty of serving food and passing out clothes brings hope to this growing crisis. I realize that we will not solve the crisis in our serving, but for that moment and for that day, they, the people of Skid Row, will know that someone and a community care enough about them and because of that, they may see that there is light in all that darkness that surrounds thier life.”

To learn more about the Skid Row Ministry at St. Martin de Porres, visit https://smdpyl.org/skidrow. To get involved, contact Brendan O’Shea at 714-420-4528 or [email protected].