The shoe-give away area
The lines were forming well before dawn – both the 350 Rotarian volunteers and some 3,000 expectant kids and families the morning of Saturday December 8. As the sun was rising, what has become LA5’s and the district’s hallmark event, the 2018 Angel City Celebration was on! Movement was everywhere with checking-in the volunteers, registering participants and situating the 30+ health and resource providers to firing up the grills to prepare the free pancake breakfast.
This year marked the ninth annual event, originated by LA5 in a church parking lot to provide a few hundred families in need with holiday toys and food. Now Angel City is an all-day festival as Rotary’s largest service project in the greater Los Angeles area. Encompassing most of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in south Los Angeles, LA5 is joined in partnership with District 5280, Rotarians from 25 clubs throughout the District, 15 Interact clubs and 8 Rotaract clubs, and with Los Angeles County Parks Recreation as the anchor partner.
The event encompasses components offering area families with young children a fun day together, integrating nutrition, activities, and physical and mental health care resources, screenings, and information about and access to services, culminating with a huge toy and shoe giveaway.
This year’s event was again led by Marjorie Heller with able assistance from Melody St. John and Bette Hall, as well as many LA5 past presidents, directors and at-large members. LA5 member and Lance Miller again served as MC at the large stage area to welcome the families, and direct stage entertainment and activities. LA5 Past President Alan Bernstein again coordinated the thousands of toys the excited and happy kids were to receive.
While a huge undertaking produced almost entirely by volunteers, the radiant glows of gladness and gratitude from the participating families provide the incentive and gratification to continue this most worthwhile event year after year!