On this week’s episode of The Word on Long Beach, we give you an inside look at how one nonprofit is tackling the homeless epidemic, how one local business survived the pandemic, and we’ll introduce you to students from Operation Jump Start who are changing family traditions.

00:44 – “Lil by Lil.” That is the motto of Care Closet LBC.  It represents the nonprofit’s commitment to meet the needs of Long Beach’s unhoused community.  Little by little. This week, we met up with Founder and CEO Duke Givens to find out what made him start his nonprofit.

He says it was one moment, and one man going through a back injury he could relate to.  From there, the vision and the passion grew. To date, Care Closet has given out almost 1,200 sleeping bags, over 500 tents and thousands of meals.

Givens has a unique approach to addressing the needs of the unhoused: Give them purpose. He has a team, several of them homeless, who work to keep the area around them clean.

We went out with him to meet the people he serves.

15:01 – It’s a new day! Businesses are now open and we can get back to many of the things we love. For some businesses, it is a much-needed relief.  Keeping a business alive, when there is no business coming in, was a challenge that was impossible for some to meet.  Reporter Crystal Niebla of the Long Beach Post joins us to give us more insight on how Roxanne’s Bar and Willie’s Tin Shop survived the pandemic.

29:10 – What a difference a year makes.  Last year, students were forced to have drive-by graduation celebrations, if they had any celebrations at all.  This year, the class of 2021 accepted their diplomas in front of family and friends.  While this moment is one that is one most graduating seniors will cherish for years to come, the next step is one that is a generational celebration for others.

Thanks to Operation Jump Start, several Long Beach Students will be the first in their families to attend college.  We sat down with graduates Wendy Rodriguez and Fabian Ochoa, to find out how they feel moving into this new chapter.