When the Long Beach City Council declared a state of emergency earlier this month over the state of homelessness, they pledged to take on some long-term issues like affordable housing and shelter space, but, on the ground, some locals are doing innovative things to address the immediate needs.
Duke Givens and his nonprofit Care Closet LBC is one of them.
Every day, Givens and his team hit the streets of Long Beach to provide resources to unhoused people. In addition to food, clothing and other assistance, Givens wants to empower those living on the street to take care of themselves.
“We get them to work together as a team,” says Givens. The work includes keeping their areas clean, passing out food and clothing provided by Care Closet LBC, and looking out for each other.
Givens now has some much-needed assistance with food distribution. Not just sandwiches and snacks, but gourmet food. Every day, Savage Tacos Truck provides a hot breakfast to the unhoused between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. at various locations in Long Beach.
Keith and Rachel LukaSavage opened Savage Tacos in March 2020, just as the pandemic shutdowns began. After losing all of their catering clients, Keith LukaSavage says they found success along the bluffs in Long Beach. That success not only sustained their business but gave them a chance to feed every homeless person who came by their truck.
“It’s really important,” says Keith LukaSavage. “Everyone wants to help, but get involved in your community.”
Keith LukaSavage and his wife try to impact the community around them every day and encourage others to do the same saying, “you don’t have to change the world. Just change your community.”