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Xmas at Night

21-22 December 2002

By: Stag Brown, Bobcat Thompson and Joe Young

Leaders: Stag Brown, Bobcat Thompson and Joe Young

Twelve adventurous souls, including the leaders, met at the LA School Administration building parking lot at a minute before midnight for this annual event. One participant, a teacher, recently found out that her school was going to dispose of a large number of rations of concentrated food because the expiration date was at hand. So she grabbed as much of the rations as she could and brought them to this outing to distribute to the homeless. The rations were packets of something that looked like compressed granola bars, with eight bars in each packet.

The Wednesday prior to the hike a family had dropped off some extra clothing with Stag just as he was preparing to lead his regular Wednesday evening hike in Griffith Park. Stag kept the clothing and distributed it along with the aforementioned rations to the twelve participants on the Xmas at Night hike.

Needless to say, the food rations and extra clothing added a lot of bulk and weight to our own packs, so we wasted not time or energy and headed directly to some areas we knew were fertile grounds for the homeless, specifically Los Angeles Street and Third, Fourth, and Fifth Streets. We were not disappointed. Hundreds and hundreds of homeless living in boxes, under rags, makeshift tents, or in a few cases actual camping tents lined the sidewalks, some sleeping but most wide awake and anxious to receive food and clothing. Some of the homeless encampments were quite lively.

We encountered the first homeless within a half hour of starting the hike, and had exhausted our food and clothing by about 1:30 AM.

The weather was threatening, as it had been for a couple of days, so instead of continuing the crisscrossing of downtown Los Angeles, Stag led us back to the LA School Admin building, with a diversion through the Third Street tunnel and to the Music Center with its bright lights, huge Christmas tree, and the fountain in full operation. We were back at the cars at 2:00 AM.

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