It is one thing to see the high concentration of homeless in a news story from the warm and cozy comfort of your own home. . .
. . .but take it from me, it's another experience entirely to spend half a day out on the sidewalks in the shadow of downtown Los Angeles, working in the middle of a section of the population who didn't have the last liveshot of the day, the end of a shift and a drive home to family and Christmas dinner to look forward to.
I don't have a choice in what assignments I cover. That decision is made back at the station. I know we cover the Father Dollar story every year (sometimes more than once). It's just been a few years since the last time I had the assignment.
Not much has changed.
The man known as "Father Dollar" is a regular fixture on the major holidays in downtown on skid row.
Through the generous donations of several benefactors, he gives out money (mostly one dollar at a time) to the homeless residents of the skid row section of town.
It's not much. It most likely won't change anyone's life, but it is a dollar. That's one dollar more than most of them would have had.
There's not much more to say than what was said in the package we put together for the newscast. We talked to Father Dollar and also spoke with people who lined up to receive that small bit of charity.
The reporter and I made the story as interesting as we could, but I didn't learn anything new that I didn't already know from having covered this story in years past. That's probably the same for anyone who might have seen the story on the news in previous years.
I walked away feeling like I want to do something more, but I don't know what more could be done. I gave out the change from my pockets and the five dollars I had in my wallet. It didn't solve anything, but I kind of got it in mind that I understand the importance of small gestures.
We talked to people who donate their time and some folks who run the shelters, kitchens and missions on skid row. Many of them said the same things. In a year when the economy has choked off much of the large donations, the homeless and the organizations that help them are helped more by small donations that come from individuals.
A donation in any amount, even one simple dollar, means something.
If everyone gave a dollar, we might not have as many people going hungry and sleeping on the streets.
That would be something.
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