On Saturday, August 7, 2021, over 500 volunteers and community members gathered in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park in Central Los Angeles for the ‘In The Joy Of Others’ 5K Walk/Run supporting the Play Equity Fund by the LA84 Foundation and Susan G. Komen.
The walk was the culmination of over a year of COVID-19 relief efforts supporting the Los Angeles community. BAPS Charities volunteers were joined by staff representatives from the Play Equity Fund, LA84 Foundation, Susan G. Komen – Los Angeles County, Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Office of State Senator Sydney Kamlager, Office of Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Mayor Tasha Cerda of Gardena.
“We are grateful BAPS Charities has chosen the Play Equity Fund as a charitable partner for this year’s In The Joy of Others Walk/Run,” said Renata Simril, President of the Play Equity Fund. “Their contribution will help bring needed resources to the Play Equity Fund’s community and nonprofit partners who are providing youth with sports and enrichment opportunities in underserved communities in Los Angeles.” BAPS Charities donated $20,000 to the Play Equity Fund to bring sport and play to all children, regardless of their race, gender, zip code, or socioeconomic status. Fifteen million kids live in poverty across the U.S., with nearly 1 million living in poverty in Los Angeles. Kids from households making below $25,000 are 5 times less likely to participate in sports.
For the first time ever, BAPS Charities hosted their annual Walk in central Los Angeles in front of the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Walk/Run route went through Exposition Park where participants walked by iconic local sites like the Los Angeles Rose Garden, the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the California African American Museum, and the University of Southern California (USC). The Walk took place in the heart of South Los Angeles, where we were joined by the offices of a number of local elected officials.
“Volunteerism is so vital in South LA,” shared Irma Galicia, District Representative for Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer. “Volunteers like you are the groundwork of our community. During the pandemic and today, BAPS Charities and its volunteers ensure that our hospitals, communities, and most vulnerable residents remain supported. Volunteers like you make positive things like this happen in our community and for that, we are grateful to BAPS Charities.”
Although vaccination rates continue to be steady, South LA continues to see high infection rates in one of Los Angeles’ most underserved communities. In addition to the Walk, BAPS Charities took the opportunity to offer COVID-19 vaccines and distribute 250 Personal Protective Equipment kits with PPE donated by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to community members in South LA.
In addition to supporting the Play Equity Fund, BAPS Charities donated $50,000 to Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest research, resource, and advocacy organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer. In building from last year, this year’s walk supported Susan G. Komen and its efforts to address breast cancer on multiple fronts including advocacy, research, and patient support.
Mark Pilon, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen’s efforts in Los Angeles also attended on behalf of the organization at large. “We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of BAPS Charities,” said Mark Pilon, Komen’s Executive Director of Los Angeles. “Thanks to their support, we will be able to help more women and men get the care they need to live a longer, healthier life.”
The $50,000 gift was leveraged months earlier as part of a matching gift campaign to make the greatest impact possible. All matched contributions will go towards supporting Susan G. Komen’s mission in saving lives and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
Cancer survivor and community member Meilyn Ortencia joined the walk. “I was surprised how many volunteers are here, that there’s still people out there trying to help each other, and then the fact that everyone’s here, giving up their time to walk for a cause. It really is incredible!”
BAPS Charities would like to thank all of its supporters and volunteers who made this event and effort possible. With the donated funds from events such as this walk, BAPS Charities can conduct many local and global charitable and humanitarian services.