Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Veronica Mendoza, along with Port of Los Angeles Charter High School students passes out pumpkin to residents. Medoza, the resident association president, said the produce was appreciated.

By Diana L. Chapman
After living in San Pedro for nearly half my life, I’ve always avoided the Rancho San Pedro affordable housing development on Harbor Avenue because of consistent warnings that drugs and gangs exist and persist there.
Perhaps they do.
But  last month I learned – thanks to Port of Los Angeles High School  teacher Rachel Brunhke – that there are many more families and individuals who are just like you and I – not involved in crime, not doing drugs, or any type of illegal activities. They are just trying to survive.
My lesson happened right before Thanksgiving, when Brunhke and her students took over produce they had grown themselves at the Los Angeles School District Science Center in San Pedro.
The residents lined up and were so grateful to get a small pumpkin, pomegranates and squash and greeted the students  with huge smiles.
Veronica Mendoza who lives there with her family –and is president of the resident’s association,  said residents within the development pull together to help those who have even less than they do.
“I have a feeling that our own low income community will begin to be viewed for something other than the fearful gang infested projects,” Mendoza said. “You would be surprised what you can learn if you hang out with the disabled woman in the wheel chair that needs food. Our entire community takes turns assisting her and her mentally disabled, sweet daughter.
“Or you could see when the community pull together to raise rent funding for our neighbor who just lost his job and couldn’t make the rent payment and was about to be evicted.”
Residents in the community can use the following items: jackets and toys for children,  floor heaters for seniors, trays of food for seniors with turkeys and tamales being at the top of the most requested food items, Mendoza said. Residents are most concerned about the seniors who remain behind during the holidays while many are gone to visit families. 

The residents will put on a pot luck dinner from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 17 for seniors, but need donations.
To make any of these offerings, you can email Mendoza at: veronicamendoza1@yahoo.com and arrange to drop them off.
“You see, it’s the little things we received that make our lives more pleasurable,” she added.