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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas from Compton

This past Saturday morning we had the opportunity to spend a few hours helping out at the Salvation Army in Compton.

The Salvation Army has an excellent long-term presence in the community ... committed to meeting spiritual and physical needs of literally thousands of individuals and families in the immediate area. (Looks like the recent wind and rain did some work to their sign out front.)

Saturday was the big Christmas outreach, providing food and Christmas presents to several hundred needy families.

Captains Martin and Tory Ross provide leadership to the ministry. Here Tory is sharing a few words (being translated into Spanish) beforehand about some of the resources the Compton Salvation Army offers the community.

Martin - who who is very conversational in Spanish - decided to have his Christmas message translated as well. Compton is a community in transition, with a huge, growing Latino community.

The facility was packed!

Volunteers from other churches came out to help staff the event. A group came down from a Micronesian Church in Pasadena. Very cool.

This little girl is playing the part of Santa Claus for her family!

Volunteers helping families carry Christmas gifts and food boxes out.

We've helped out here before, but this year we thought about getting involved in something closer to home. Someone reminded us that social-service organizations on the westside of Los Angeles generally are better resourced that those in South Los Angeles. Make sense, they're simply around foundations, businesses, organization, and individuals that are better able to give. So, at the invitation of those in Compton, we once again drove on down to see how we could help.

A highlight for us was the opportunity to bring our kids. Living in Los Angeles we're exposed to extremes of both wealth and poverty. We appreciate the chance for them to see and serve alongside the Salvation Army for a couple of hours. My son (9) played the role of a snowman, greeting kids and parents at the door. He was a real trooper - that suit got pretty hot pretty quick. This is the third year we've tried some sort of Christmas service project, and it only gets easier as our kids get older.

Here's the link for the Salvation Army Compton's website: There are opportunities to get involved, or to invest financially in the the work.

A huge thank you - and Merry Christmas - to Captains Martin and Tory Ross and their team, and for the ongoing impact they're making here in Los Angeles.

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