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Helping Where We Can

It’s pretty likely you don’t know him, but Vincent Wan was our MagicLinks data science intern, and after graduating from UCLA (we’re so proud of him!) he flew home in December. To Wuhan. In time for China’s quarantine. The scope and severity of the Coronavirus pandemic was just starting to be understood, and Vincent was in the middle of it.

When he learned California had issued its shelter in place order, he immediately sent us 300 masks for distribution to those in need. It’s a gesture of love, compassion, and of solidarity as the US in turn addresses the virus.

Vincent’s masks arrived, along with others we purchased to donate and distribute in the community. The next day our team delivered 600 masks to the Eisner Healthcare Foundation which is doing outstanding work to help Angelenos through this. It’s staggering to think these masks will scarcely get their staff through a single day as they meet people on the street for testing.

We contributed funds to Marine Layer who is taking donations to help produce masks at about $2.50 a pop. This not only keeps their employees on payroll but converts their existing infrastructure to something serving the greater good – practically overnight. And after that, we heard from a local farmer’s union in need of masks. We feel very humbled to be able to share 500 with them.

We’ve also been long term partners with Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y.) a resource center for youth experiencing homelessness here in Venice Beach. After Eisner, we delivered another 300 masks to them and made a donation to help with food supplies. They are walking distance from our office and in desperate need of everything from gift cards for food, to socks and yes, masks.

To give you an idea of the scope of the homelessness crisis in Venice before the coronavirus, here is a map of the region’s homeless population. We’re the orange square by the ocean, second in line behind Downtown Los Angeles/Skid Row.

We feel that it is critical to help hyper-local, smaller organizations, those without the benefit of name recognition but who do good work every day all the same. And even the people around us every day. One of our neighbors is an older Persian woman cut off from her daughters right now for fear of being exposed to the virus. We were honored and humbled to be able to share some masks with her, too – and to feel connected to people from a country that the US has a complex and fear-based relationship with.

They are masks and the need is great, but in a way sharing these masks is sharing hope. Little blue, elastic-sided hope. And telling you the names of the little guys in this fight and of the ways we are helping is another way to share hope with you, too. Hope that you can make a bigger difference than maybe you’d realized at first. Hope that help is here already.

There are as many opportunities for love and kindness as there are people going through this. We hope whatever you need will find you, support you, and remind you we are all in this together.

Much Love,

Natalie & MagicLinks

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