Our city, Los Angeles, has a crisis involving unhoused citizens. We frequently encounter people sleeping on streets, digging through trash cans, begging for money or food. It’s become an epidemic of increasing severity in recent years.
Molly did not accept homelessness. She would not pass a hungry person without insisting that we offer food or money. She felt strongly that it’s wrong that some have so much more than they need, while others have nothing. It saddened her and gave rise to questions that were difficult to answer.
When Molly was in the pediatric intensive care unit at UCLA, we kept a tzedakah box in her hospital room. Tzedakah, which is often translated as “charity,” has its roots in the word for “justice” or “righteousness.” Molly inherently understood what is just and right. Jewish tradition teaches that giving tzedakah is an imperative, even for those who have little to give.
We asked everyone (medical personnel, since visitors weren’t allowed) to put in a little money. Before Molly passed away, we took it to San Vicente Boulevard, where a horde of people are living in tents. Jon gave it to a man, told him about our beloved daughter who was on her death bed, and asked him to pray for a miracle. Jon said that it wasn’t much, but we wanted him to have it, and asked him to share it with a woman. We knew Molly would have wanted that. He seemed genuinely moved and promised that he would.
This is a Los Angeles Times article about the homeless encampment - https://www.latimes.com/homeless-housing/story/2021-10-20/va-says-it-will-house-homeless-veterans-who-are-camped-around-its-west-l-a-campus.
Molly became upset every time we drove past the tents. Homelessness was personal to her, as her grandmother and great-uncle have lived on the streets for extended periods of time. Untreated mental illness and addiction are to blame.
San Vicente leads to Brentwood, home to some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. At just twelve, Molly was concerned about income inequality. Our daughter was wise beyond her years. She remains one of our greatest teachers.
The City of Los Angeles has moved the tents onto the grounds of the VA’s West LA campus. For every $50 donated to the Molly Steinsapir Foundation during the months of November and December 2021, we are delivering a warm #TEAMMOLLY sweatshirt to someone who is living there. Molly will be proud and happy to bring comfort to those who are most in need this holiday season. Thank you to everyone who has supported the Molly Steinsapir Foundation. We are grateful that you are part of Molly’s legacy. Together, we are #MakingADifferenceEveryDay.