At TaskUs, one of our Core Values is "Inspire Others by Believing in Yourself." On Friday, May 10th 2013, we had the good fortune of spending the day with an incredible and inspiring group of people at the Bell Salvation Army Homeless Shelter in Bell, CA. Our time at Bell Shelter and the GrowGood Non-Profit Organization left a lasting impression as we were reminded of the importance of second chances, providing sustainable resources to those who need it most and remembering to care for those in your local community.
Opening their doors in January 1988, the Salvation Army Bell Shelter provides life-changing services to thousands of homeless people annually. With a converted 40,000 square foot former U.S. Army Air Base, Bell Shelter offers programs and services that include emergency shelter, transitional housing, substance abuse rehabilitation, case management, counseling, on-site health care, HIV/AIDS education, ESL classes, computer training, vocational assistance, job referrals, and life skill classes. As the population of homeless people in Los Angeles continues to surge to roughly 50,000+ people, it is startling to learn that an estimated 50% of men and women living on the streets suffer from some form of mental illness. Thus, it is imperative to support a wonderful resource like Bell Shelter as it plays an integral role in sheltering, diagnosing and rehabilitating the homeless people that suffer on a daily basis. Many of the residents at Bell Shelter are veterans that are given the opportunity to participate in a housing 2-year housing program located on the grounds.
In conjunction with Bell Shelter, the GrowGood Non-Profit Organization is helping further rehabilitate and provide sustainable food resources for the homeless. Utilizing urban agriculture projects to transform communities, GrowGood started their first urban farm project at Bell Shelter. Despite large donations and federal grants, Bell Shelter struggles to provide healthy and nutritious meals because their food budget is minimal. Preparing 188,000 meals per year and having a weekly produce budget of $200, daily meals prepared for 350 homeless people contain roughly $18 worth of fresh produce. A mere $18 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables for a crowd of 350! GrowGood invited TaskUs to visit Bell Shelter, tour the facilities, meet with management and spend the day gardening. Planting garlic, tomatoes, basil, onions and many other vegetables, TaskUs was thrilled to help build sustainable food resources. Special thank you to GrowGood's founder Brad Pregerson! Brad's grandfather, Judge Harry Pregerson, used an obscure federal law to transition Bell Shelter from military use in 1988 over to the Salvation Army. With deep roots in community service and the shelter itself, it is easy to see how Brad Pregerson inspires others by believing in himself. TaskUs appreciates the opportunity to participate and looks forward to coming back to Bell very soon!