Through the year we hosted harbor cruises as part of our We’re All in the Same Boat Project. Each cruise brought together 130 people of all ages and backgrounds, including seniors, vets, people in shelters and group homes, low-income and homeless people, as well as corporate groups, faith groups and school groups, plus individuals and families for a 2 hour cruise through San Pedro Harbor. Some of the passengers had never been on a boat before. We had coffee, juice and donuts, and then people enjoyed the water, the sea lions, and one another. There was only one rule: Everyone on the boat had to meet at least 1 new person. We used to do 1 boat ride a year. These rides have become so popular in 2016 we did 7, all completely full.
This picture to the left is probably my favorite of the year. On the day before Thanksgiving, we hosted our annual Big Sunday Thanksgiving Stuffing event and Community Breakfast. This year more than 1100 people joined together to fill more than 2200 bags full of food for a Thanksgiving feast for thousands of struggling families and individuals represented by nearly 75 different social service agencies. People came from all walks of life, and some of the people who helped actually received bags as they wanted to give as well as receive. Here, too, people came of all ages, backgrounds, and places on the social-economic spectrum. I love the picture of the left because this is a person from one of the agencies receiving food. What I especially love about this picture is that it is not clear – and I actually do not know – which person is giving and who is receiving. I think maybe that’s the way it should be.
On MLK Day, we hosted our annual Big Sunday MLK Day Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast. We collected, sorted and gave away more than 23,000 new and gently-used clothes to nearly 50 social services agencies throughout the greater Los Angeles area. In 2016 we had about 600 people. In 2017 more than 1000 (!) people came to help, enjoy breakfast together, and listen to a fantastic Motown cover band.
In February, we hosted Sneaker Day, where we were able to provide brand new shoes and socks for every child at a Title I elementary school in South LA. We brought a photographer, too. (It is very hard to figure out which picture to choose from this collection.)
In May we hosted A Month of Big Sundays, an extension of our old Big Sunday Weekend format. Thousands of people helped at hundreds of projects throughout the month. Here is a group at a school beautification in Oak Park.
On MLK Day everyone was also asked to meet a stranger, discover something that they had in common and have their picture taken together. Many people participated in this in groups large and small. In this picture Stephanie and Brittany display their common bond.