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Hidden Gems: Meet Maxine Sealey of SHARING LOVE WITH OTHERS

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maxine Sealey.

Hi Maxine, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Panama City and have been living in California for 34 years. SHARING LOVE WITH OTHERS is a Non Profit organization that I founded in March 2019 after having a passion to help people in any way I can. This organization is geared to help the homeless community and the impoverished in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. I was led to create SHARING LOVE WITH OTHERS after becoming the Outreach Director in 2004 of the church that I attend, while going through my personal hardship, after volunteering with other organizations that help the homeless, and after connecting people to free resources for their home such as refrigerators, bed, furniture and more. For some reason people would call on me to help, and I had the desire to help in whatever way I could.

However, when I volunteered with other organizations that service the homeless community, I was missing the personal connection, I was not satisfied with just providing food, I wanted to form a relationship with the people, get to know them by name, listen to their stories, hug them and let them know that someone cares and that they are not alone. I use to tell my mother that I would like to start an organization to help the homeless community and she would always encourage me to do it, when she became ill she encouraged me even more and made me promise that I would do it. She is now deceased. My mother motivated me to do what God put on my heart. This is why I am so passionate in building SHARING LOVE WITH OTHERS. SHARING LOVE WITH OTHERS is struggling to meet the needs of the homeless community.

With the homeless community increasing, everyday you notice more and more people sleeping on the sidewalks and in cars. The homeless on Skid Row look forward to us taking food personally prepared by me and other necessary items to them every Saturday. We have not missed a Saturday since we started over a year ago; rain or shine, we are there. SLWO has been going to the same location for over a year until recently. We have developed a relationship with the people, and we know some of them by name.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Some of the challenges I’ve experienced to keep Sharing Love With Others alive are getting enough consistent volunteers and donations. During the pandemic, it’s been even more difficult due to the risks involved, but we are fighting through.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Every week on Skid Row, we set up tents and tables on the same corner, serve over 400 meals, hand out masks, hygiene kits, pass out donated clothing, essential items, and do a monthly street clean-up. As we face the COVID-19 crisis, we notice that the homeless community has felt abandoned since churches and other charities have shut down. It is more difficult for us to help the homeless because of the pandemic, and the homeless crisis in Los Angeles seems to be worsening with widespread income disparity. However, we are not discouraged and we have not stopped our efforts! We were assisting before COVID-19 too. Our crew of dedicated volunteers are multi–generational and encompass various creative industries. We show up every Saturday ready to serve while following the social distancing guidelines as much as possible for our safety and theirs. With COVID-19 putting all human beings at risk, the homeless need to be protected just like us.

Since the pandemic, we have provided essential items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, resources and educational material regarding COVID-19. I believe that the media can shed more light on the fact that not every homeless person is addicted to drugs or somehow deserves to be in his or her unfortunately situation. I feel there are many people that had been living paycheck to paycheck and they became homeless because they cannot afford to pay their rent or mortgage any longer because they are no longer employed due to illness or other reason. My mother taught and reminded me that people living on the streets are human beings, they are someone’s mother, father, child. We should not judge them. They all have a story like we do. Many of them are professionals that just fell on hard times. The community needs to know that SHARING LOVE WITH OTHERS is an organization that is very passionate about helping the homeless community and that we cannot do it alone. We need your help to HELP US HELP THE HOMELESS COMMUNITY. We would love for you to get involved. Volunteer/Donate.

What’s next?
We are looking to expand and grow. March 19, 2021 is the two-year anniversary of the start of SLWO. We hope to usher in more exposure and donations to help us help the unhoused. We are in need of a big truck to transport items weekly. We are looking to partner with a medical team to do more mental and physical health assessments, which would definitely benefit the community we serve.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Images by Learie Douglas and Stephanie Yu

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