With your support over the past four years, Project Ropa has made a difference in the lives of thousands of homeless and low-income people in Los Angeles.
Traveling throughout the city in our distinctive retrofitted van, we have brought clean clothes, shoes and accessories as well as personal hygiene products to our clients, helping to restore their dignity and rekindle their optimism. And thanks to our network of local nonprofit partners, our clients also have access to showers and bathroom facilities during our visits, essentially giving them a new start, for the day or potentially longer.
Over all, we have served more than 30,000 men, women and families since our founding in 2016.
Access to clean clothing is essential to a person’s overall well-being and can be the key to opening doors to employment and shelter. Our homeless neighbors have come to depend on us for hope and a path to a better life. Over the last six months, we were able to hire two people transitioning out of homelessness, furthering our mission to provide transformational services.
Now, with our city in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for our services is greater than ever. Yet for the past several weeks, we have been sidelined, and ask for your help to return to the streets and the frontlines of this terrible disease.
Just days after more restrictive guidelines about COVID-19 were issued by our mayor, almost all of our main providers of new or gently used donated clothing – and of shampoo, soap and other hygiene items – either closed indefinitely or reallocated their supplies to larger organizations for the foreseeable future. At about the same time, our annual fundraising event had to be cancelled, despite an anticipated increase of at least 20 percent in our operating costs because of COVID-19. Out of concern for the health and safety of our staff and volunteers, we had no choice but to stop our mobile service in mid-March and temporarily suspend our operations.
We are a small but nimble organization – when faced with challenges, we persist and adapt because we believe the work we are doing is incredibly important. With your help, we want to get back on the road by the beginning of May.
Several important suppliers have stood by us – thank you Los Angeles Apparel, Lucky Brand and Solmate Socks for stepping up and going above and beyond during this unprecedented time. We have also identified a number of new suppliers.
If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is the growing recognition that we all have a stake in helping the homeless find a better life off the city’s streets. Access to clean clothing, along with other hygiene services, is essential to getting them there, making our mission even more urgent than it was before the coronavirus came to Los Angeles.
We know that you are receiving many requests for support during this painful period. Whether you are hearing about us for the first time or have supported us from the beginning, we hope you will see our value and donate whatever you can.
Wishing kindness and comfort to you, our community.
Founder of Project Ropa