• Ilana E.

    "This was my second year volunteering with my sister at the Carnival of Love, and we will be there every year! Right around noon when the guests walked in, I greeted a gentleman named Raymond, and got to bond with him throughout the carnival from that very moment until almost 4:45 p.m.! He was a very shy and polite man, with very little to his name (one pair of shoes, no phone, no ID, a recent transplant to California). We started by getting him a new pair of shoes and then I described all of the wonderful services that were available, and while he didn’t want to take advantage of them at first, we quickly built a bond and friendship and we did it all! He saw a dentist, he saw a doctor, he got his very favorite card game, Uno, he got a new soft and warm blanket (he mentioned the blankets at the shelter were scratchy and shed), he even got an incredible massage, he got a California ID, he talked to a few people about potential jobs, he applied for a cell phone, and he even got to be the very last guest accepted into the “hair salon” for a fantastic cut and shave. Raymond opened up to me, and we quickly came to the realization that while we are all facing different struggles and hardships, we are all human and we are all the same. Raymond will hold a place in my heart forever. I’m sad he didn’t have a way for me to keep in touch since he doesn’t have a phone (he was approved for one thankfully) and bounces around shelters. But I have a picture with him and I have thought about how much he enriched my life just by spending a few hours together. I’ll never forget Raymond!"

  • Kitty G.

    "Walking around and totally pampering 'Terry' and making him laugh. The dancing was glorious, and although Terry barely could shuffle walking with his cane, he totally felt the beat and would stop and just bounce in place to the music. His laugh was infectious and he absolutely adored the pink lady stilt walker. The energy was positively momentous! I loved the whole day!"

  • Jennifer B.

    "The last woman I guided was desperate to get in and get a haircut. She had been waiting but then left to walk her handicapped friend back to their tent. We were told they weren't letting anyone else in but upon seeing her disappointment, everyone bended and adjusted and got her in the chair. She glowed the whole time her hair was being cut and then end, she could barely contain her excitement. She begged me to walk her back to her tent so she could introduce me to her friend. Because it was the end of the day, I did. Deandra introduced me to everyone she knew on the way, beaming the whole time. It was really special to see how the simplest thing could make someone shine."

  • Anonymous

    "I spent time with the children which was really important to me, because me and my mother were homeless when I was younger. I would have loved something like this. I spent a year living in shelters and I'll never forget the Christmas I spent at one. It was one of the few times that I felt people cared about us. We get so wrapped up in our everyday lives, homeless people tend to get forgotten. The holidays were the one time a year where people came around and helped out. The reason this event stood out to me is because it took place after all of those holidays, during the time when they go back to being forgotten and I know first hand how amazing that can feel."

  • Niloufar G.

    "I was working the clothing donation table for woman, and a lady came to the table, and when I asked her what she is looking for, she said a nice dress that she can wear to church. That really touched me, as it was so important to her to go to church and dress appropriately. We did find her a perfect dress!!"

  • Lukas C.

    "When I was at the event in the morning for set up, one of the Skid Row residents, Carter was helping us set up and carry trash. We stood and talked for a while after we had finished getting set up and he told me about his story and how he ended up on the street. I made him aware of the services that we offered and informed in that the DMV was going to be here helping get identification cards. When he heard this he broke down in tears of joy and relief because he had been meaning to get to the DMV but hasn't been able to."

  • Linda N.

    "My favorite moment was when I met Willie. 11 days prior, he had moved into a low income unit- the first time in his 50 years that he has his own place. He admitted it was too much space. He had no TV, no phone, no car, no computer. He was ecstatic about buying a radio. If Willie can lead a happy and content life, then the rest of us should have nothing to complain about. Ever. We dined together, we danced, we hugged. In that moment nothing mattered- not our skin color, gender, age, income. We were simply two souls connecting with our hearts. I volunteered thinking I was going to give gifts and touch other people's hearts but I didn't expect my heart would be touched tenfold and Willie would be my gift."

  • Lisa P.

    "At the beginning of the afternoon, the tables were quieter and I had the opportunity to speak with one of the guests for quite some time. She and I were discussing the recent events with the women's march, and obstacles that some minorities are facing. Throughout the conversation I found that we are looking at the world through the same lenses, and at the end, she thanked me for taking the time to speak with her. She said she knew I was really listening to her because I was looking into her eyes as we spoke. I felt the same about her:)"

  • Annalisa B.

    "The sweetest 4-year old girl played basketball hoops with my 6-year old son. It was a moment when demographics didn't matter. It was two kids having fun. It should always be that way. "

  • Lynn P.

    "I am so thankful for the Carnival of Love because it led me to meet the lovely Sylvia. Despite her bad leg, we danced through the carnival, grabbing necessities for her and her grandbabies. Her cart broke, but I was able to find some duct tape and then we decided to sit in the park. We chatted for three hours about her life in Belize, the community that she is an active member in (they call her Ma), and how she's 74 and ‘don't need no man’ cause they can't move like her. I was able to walk with her back to her bus stop and left feeling so very loved."

  • Amber R.

    "A lady named Candy came to interview with us, she was well prepared and had great answers. As we finished up the interview we were telling her about how to apply for the store and she asked, 'so you really think I have a chance? When we told her "absolutely" she had a giant smile on her face, and tears in her eyes, and she said, "Y'all don't know how you just made my day, thank you so much."

  • Angela A.

    "When my friend took off her own shoes and gave them to a woman in a wheelchair who we could not find shoes for."

  • Neda S.

    "One lady that we were escorting had difficulty reading the DMV forms without glasses so I helped her fill out the forms and when she got her picture taken and got the receipt for her ID, she started to cry. She explained that her home had been burned down in a fire and it really hit home that she is living in a shelter due to a very unfortunate circumstance that could literally happen to anyone."