Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomie “Morenita” Coronado & Morea Sabido.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Morea and Morenita. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I come from a lineage of an immigrant grandmother who always helped others, my mom raised me where serving others was part of our day to day life, I’ve never known any different. For what seemed to be all of my life, I wanted to do something greater, but I never saw anything that felt hands on enough for me or something where I could truly connect with the experience of serving from start to finish.
I also didn’t like red tape, school rules or adults making decisions for me, I wanted to unite everyone, not just my school & as an outcast get rid of the clicks that we usually fall into. So one day I set out to create my own place where people like me could find their outlet, I wanted to be the bullhorn others used to project their passions.
So at 16, this crazy persistent need to organize and help those around me came to be. I called on my best friend at the time, got him on board & planned the very first meeting, a small group of eight in my living room, our story snowballed from there. Less than a month later 50 plus volunteers showed up at my grandma’s house where we fed over 200 people at our very first event “Blankies & Sammiches.”
Has it been a smooth road?
There has and will always been bumps and dips in the journey, the more important part is how we get over them. Smooth roads would be too easy, or everyone would have done this already. It has definitely been hard when it comes to our lack of resources and monetary restrictions. As much as we love our family-feel, having meetings with 20+ people are hard to hold in our founders living room and garage, what we call LG Headquarters.
With no office space, it has been difficult keeping the countless amount of Lets.Give gatherings comfortable & effective. Additionally, having no kitchen or warehouse has made our community feedings a bit hectic since we prepare food and hygiene kits for hundreds of people throughout our Founders entire house. The limitations of our space have been a slight detriment to us as we grow.
Additionally, the lack of funding has also put some restrictions on us, we don’t have much funds to build marketing & we pay for a lot of our day to day out of our personal pockets. Thankfully, due to our members & community supporters, we are still able to exceed our established goals, every time. We have continued to persevere and thrive as an organization fulfilling our mission by empowering and maintaining a movement of love, compassion, and support. We’re grassroots & the struggle is part of the beauty.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Lets.Give story. Tell us more about the business.
Lets.Give’s mission is to provide monthly volunteer opportunities to students and young adults across Los Angeles in order to unite like spirits & mobilize our generation to simply GIVE, bust out of their comfort bubbles & become active contributors. We are a platform for others to find & utilize their voice for change. We do so by ambitiously committing to 12 annual events/one a month via our three initiatives: cultural, community, and global. We have surpassed that number every year since conception, with 46 events held in 2018 alone!
We are blessed to say we have made huge accomplishments within all three of our initiatives. Our biggest and most fun culture event is Tribe Called Culture, an arts collective showcase that brings art into a community that doesn’t usually have access to witness the arts but also to showcases their own at no cost. We are able to offer an opportunity to share the stage and mic for local, up and coming artists to shine a light on their talents, whether it be singing, dancing, or spoken word. We also have a space for vendors allowing small businesses to open up shop to sell their products to a large crowd.
On top of that, we also house local artists to display and sell their artwork of any medium during the event. The best part is that all artists, performers, and vendors are not charged any fees. Tribe Called Culture is to benefit them, they get to keep all the money they make & share safe space to heal & find community with others. Through our community initiative, we have been able to produce many events such as Community feedings and Holiday toy giveaways, but our biggest accomplishment has been our Migrant Farmworkers Appreciation Day.
Every March, we go up to Bakersfield to spend the day with migrant farmworkers by holding a clothes drive at a local community center. Thousands of articles of clothing and shoes are donated from our amazing supporters all over California. While parents shop around, their kids get to play with some of our volunteers at the Kid’s Corner where they get to engage in arts and crafts. They can also get free massages and haircuts. Over the past three years, we have been able to serve hundreds of families of Bakersfield with the help of our donors, supporters and our partners.
We are honored to have worked with the Dolores Huerta Foundation as well as the legend herself who joined us for the full day of giving. Globally, our accomplishments have stunned us all. Endless hours of work, sweat, and tears were put into all of our disaster relief efforts. In 2017, after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, we were able to send 49,000 pounds of provisions on a chartered plane from the Hispanic Federation. We personally flew out there to ensure donations made it past customs and were received directly by the people.
Specifically, we were able to make it into smaller areas people weren’t getting as much help. Six months later, we were able to revisit PR & distribute thousands of dollars of cash cards & food into Yabacoa, where the hurricane entered. Our founder Morenita & Angelis Andino personally handled the distribution, again people to people, no middle man. One of the many things that makes Lets.Give so amazing is that behind the scenes of all of our accomplishments is a team of passionate and motivated students and young adults, ranging from the age of 14 to 27 years old.
We have NO paid employees and only one adult advisor. Our ideas manifest because of our hard-working members. We have proven over and over that the youth are capable of so much more. Together we have delivered love, compassion, gratitude, and service to communities all over the world and we are nowhere near done. The other part is there is never a middle person, we don’t hand over donations, we don’t sign over checks, it’s us in the trenches every time, it’s us directly in the community every time, we truly are one, we build stories together.
Choosing one moment to claim as my proudest of all our great accomplishments; like when we worked with Dolores Huerta, or when we raised 49,000 pounds of hurricane relief efforts and sent it to Puerto Rico or even when I see my teammates push their boundaries and grow into their potential. But if I had to choose one moment it’d be our very first event because it made it possible for everything that followed to happen.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I do feel like the youth is empowered & we have organically landed at the forefront of change. We are conscious and invested in social justice. We are not necessarily attached to the “non-profit sector” as we don’t receive government funding, but we are connected to activism & mobilizing.
We as a collective feel like the movement will continue to get stronger, that the youth will continue unlearning social constructs & limitations imposed on us. We will hold ourselves accountable to changing narratives & loving ourselves.
We have a lot of love to give & we cheer each other on, that is contagious & we are very proud to be here today & able to show that you don’t need much to accomplish magic, we all can make a difference.
- Website: www.letsgivemovement.org
- Phone: 3107137582
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WAVY ANGEL, STEPH SEGARRA