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Comedian Tommy Davidson hosted the 2nd annual Celebrity Holiday Party at People Assisting the Homeless’ (PATH) Rhonda Flemming Family Center on Tuesday.
The event was a gifting party for children living in PATH’s transitional housing program. They received toys, clothing, and other gifts donated to PATH. Other celebrities at the event included former sportscaster Pat O’Brien and Sterling Beaumon of “Lost.”
Davidson knows what it is like to be without a stable home. He was abandoned as an infant and was adopted when he was two years old.
“It was hard,” Davidson said. “But everything I’ve been through has led me to where I am today.”
Mayra Bravo, a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. 12 years ago in search of a better life, currently lives at the transitional home.
“I am very blessed to be here,” Bravo said. “They are making it possible for us (Bravo and her son, Wilber) to have a beautiful Christmas.”
Bravo is in her third month living in the transitional home. She was referred to PATH by a social services case manager and is grateful for what PATH has done for her.
“They have a lot of great resources that we can utilize to better ourselves,” Bravo said.
Bravo’s son, Wilber, said he was very happy to see the celebrities come out for the event and was thrilled with all of the gifts he received. His favorite was a shirt from American Apparel.
Laquisha Thomas, 24, is another mother living at the transitional home with her seven year-old son, Maurice Jimenez. She has also been at PATH for three months.
“It means a lot to me right now,” Thomas said. “I’m going through a lot of stuff right now and this is really a blessing.”
Thomas’ grandmother died last month, and seeing Maurice with a smile on his face makes Thomas very happy.
“I feel like crying,” Thomas said. “I’ve had to step out a few times because it gets me so emotional, but they are happy cries.”
The smile could be credited to Davidson, who handed Maurice a plush, robot doll. But not before doing a little comedy.
“Where are my presents at?” Davidson asked in his signature, high-pitched comedic voice while waving the doll around manically. He then made the doll dance while Beaumon played Christmas music on his ukulele. The smiles on the children’s faces make the event worth it for Davidson.
“They can’t believe it,” Davidson said. “They got so much stuff, but you have to consider this is only a small percentage of the contribution from PATH, and that it doesn’t compare to what these kids have to face as a reality everyday.”
PATH is the largest homeless prevention provider in Los Angeles County, according to Jeremy Sidelo, chief communications development officer for the organization. It was founded in 1984 and helps more than 4,000 people a year with housing and support services. PATH is a $6 million organization employing more than 70 employees. The organization is funded by public and private donations, and government contracts.
The Rhonda Flemming Family Center is a transitional home designed to house families for six months while trying to get them into more permanent housing. PATH also has locations in West Los Angeles, Hollywood, in addition to the main facility at 340 N. Madison Ave.
PATH has 225 transitional beds at the three facilities and also has a service mall, which offers a variety of social services including a job center, health clinic, salon, education and mental health services.
“We give these people shelter but we also give them the means to become self-sufficient,” Sidelo said.
Davidson is happy PATH is around today to help the homeless and knows they would have been a great help to him when he was younger.
“They would have housed, fed, and educated me and given me a solid emotional foundation to grow on,” Davidson said. “The aim for anyone’s child is to become a charitable, law-abiding and caring person, and that’s hard to do if you have everything in place to raise a child. PATH is one of the things that is helping to do that for these kids.”
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