Making A Difference - Part 1

Let me tell you about a lady who works with the forgotten people on the streets of Los Angeles. Willie Jordon, and her husband, Fred, took the inner-city’s crushing needs personally. They felt they couldn’t stand by while people were being buried by drugs, alcohol, violence and other abuses.

 In the early days of what is now called the Fred Jordon Mission it was mostly men who came to the doors for some warm food, a bed, and a word of encouragement; mostly drunks and those that were down on their luck. Almost all were men. Fred died in 1988 and that left the feeding, clothing and provision of  counseling of thousands of street people, including growing numbers of women and children to Willie. At the present time she considers roughly one thousand people her responsibility.

 She never thought she could handle it alone. In her book, “Growing Through The Loss Of A Loved One,” she writes that just the thought of her husband passing away was more than she thought she could bear, she loved him so much.

But, by taping into the Universal Spirit within her, she found that she could learn to love again, and laugh again and serve again, and she has thrived in the love of giving. With the help of local, generous merchants, each year at Christmas time they provide over 2500 people with shirts, underwear, socks, shoes, jeans. Parents who can’t find work receive huge food bags. And Willie, cradleing a child, comforting a mother, standing with a father whose baby was just born addicted to crack cocaine, she’s right there in the center of all the sharing and caring and outpouring of love.

 She says, “One of the joys of my life is what happens around Mothers Day. We put out flyers on the streets of skid row and invite all of the women of the inner city to come to the Fred Jordon Mission for a special day of pampering. We shampoo and cut their hair, give them manicures and facials and send them out looking like a million dollars. She says, “I don’t know who cries more, me or the women because when they leave the mission they’re absolutely beautiful.”

Many of these women can’t remember when someone has done something loving for them. The compassion, a tender touch instead of abuse is literally changing their lives. Also, on Mothers Day, Willie and her staff arrange for a sit down dinner for up to 5000 women and their children. It takes place on the corner of 5th and Town which is right in front of the mission and the sumptuous meal, all the women and children can eat, is served by volunteers. Next to each lady’s plate is a freshly picked carnation; for many of them the first gift of a flower that they’ve ever had. And Willie is there, overseeing the serving of the food and giving her love and compassionate ear. 

Everyone has the power to make a difference and everyone has the opportunity to acknowledge other people for what the difference they make. My next blog (part 2 of this series) will talk about acknowledgment. 

t the la     © Dick Caldwell 2012