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Really, I Was No Help at All
The night before, make that the day before, I was nervous as ever. Not having any type of reporter training and not knowing at all what to expect, I fretted over every detail of our Digilu trip to Help the Children. I had complete confidence in Dana and his expert filming and people skills, but questioned myself on just about every level. In retrospect, had I never focused on myself and rather spent my time zeroed in on the people of Help the Children, my day yesterday and today would have been better spent. Perhaps the only way to share the story, is to be a part of the story, by getting your own hands dirty and picking up the boxes. This I did not do.
I hope our venture wasn't for not, though, and that in some kind of way, it will be enough just for the two of us to continue spreading the good news about Help the Children to people in our circle, but I feel the truth beating in my heart. There has to be more.
My nerves settled just as soon as we pulled up to the faded "1" warehouse on the right.
We arrived at HTC awaiting the shuffle of trucks and big rigs with scores of volunteers packing up food to hand out. There was a rush, but a calm, steady, hush of crowds coming together and doing what they seem to do day in and day out. These volunteers give so much, and though they might get the satisfaction of handing out the food, what about some type of recognition from the community? Even more, what about seeing new faces come to the warehouse pick-up dock? The cause is worthy and granted, it is far better to have the same group than no group, but how much more could Help the Children be getting, if only more people showed up, if more food was being delivered, and more ongoing monthly donations were being received?
The volunteers saw us arrive and with a video camera and pad of paper in hand, we looked the part and had no trouble finding volunteers to share their stories. We met many along the way. The volunteers paint the picture of L.A. and the mission behind the entire Help the Children organization. People want to help. People need help.
I think about what would have happened had I put my readied questions, pen, and concerned look, away and just jumped right in and started helping. Tonight, as I sit in the comfort of my air conditioned home, I question what good my presence was today. I set out to make a difference, to be some, "I'll save the day," kind of addition to Help the Children. Instead, I stood just another spectator peering down on the hungry.
Do the volunteers ever feel this sense of apprehension, or worse yet, does the president of Help the Children, Roger Presgrove, ever experience doubt and wonder why more people aren't offering assistance? Could it be, after all these years of service and countless shipments of food locally and abroad that Help the Children is watching the commitment of the community fade? I hope not.
I left knowing I had to write about what I witnessed, capture the events I saw unfold, and put into words the meaning behind Help the Children. This isn't the first time, either. For some time now, I've tried to write a compelling piece, tried to trigger some type of emotion and perhaps stir some action for Help the Children, but I don't know that I've ever succeeded. I haven't even heeded my own advice and signed up for the monthly donation plan, yet. How could I expect others to do the same? Well, I do now. Because I know the true heart, soul, and dedication that Roger Presgrove puts into helping children and their families all around the world. I have no problem asking people to follow suit and do their part. Help the Children deserves financial backing, volunteer support, and some credit for all that they continue to do.
Yes, I should have worried less about being a reporter and more about the devoted people behind Help the Children, more about the gracious volunteers, and all about the needy children and families of our community. It was a misstep, but hopefully one that I can overcome.
I neglected to properly thank the people I met today: Roger and Roxanna Presgrove, Mario Rivera, Marlena Lewis, Stephanie Stegall, Pastor Jorge Robles, Arthur, Marlo, Albino Pineda and his wife, Jose Rodriguez, Alex Sanchez, Lazero Fregoso, Jose Saballos, Mary Delgado, and Jacqueline Torres. My thanks not for the interviews and posing for pictures, but rather and much more importantly for the endless work, commitment, love and kindness you extend every day. From all of us at Digilu ... We thank you and ask everyone out there to please help.