Karin Muller never expected the novel coronavirus pandemic to create such a loving community in Ventura, California.
The PBS and National Geographic filmmaker is also an EMT, so in March, she felt compelled to check on the most vulnerable population in her town — people without homes. Little did she know she’d spark an incredible wave of kindness.
Karin began hiking into two local river bottoms, where more than 300 homeless people live. While wary of strangers, they started to trust her more and more each time she came back with food.
With no access to water or hand sanitizer, Karen knew these people were very likely to contract COVID-19. Many were already dealing with other health issues.
“My goal was to catch the virus before it had a chance to spread,” she wrote. “But over the next three months, something extraordinary happened.”
It didn’t take long before Karin was overwhelmed. She needed help to continue feeding and caring for her new friends. So, she decided to post on Nextdoor, asking her neighbors if they’d donate food. And the response was incredible!
“Within three days I had more food than I could carry,” she said. “Everything from fresh baked muffins to hard boiled eggs.”
But the outpouring of support didn’t end there. Karin’s neighbor, Teri Jenkins, used an app to organize meal-making in the community. Then, neighbors collected necessities to distribute among the homeless camps, including socks, hygiene items, and medical supplies.
And the generosity kept coming! A lawyer visited the camps to help residents figure out how to get their fiscal stimulus checks, and an engineer named Rick built hand washing stations!
But the best gift by far was the beautiful community they all created together. Karin isn’t the only person hiking into the camps anymore; she’s often joined by nurses, doctors, and strangers who want to connect with the people they’re helping.
People experiencing homelessness often feel lonely and alienated, but in Ventura’s river bottoms, they feel loved and accepted — as they should. Thank you, Karin, and everyone else involved for making their lives better.
See more of this communal act of love in the video below, and share as a reminder to always show compassion.
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