2012 Christmas Backpack Info

no more backpacksbackpack collageDecember 23rd, Sunday Night – YOU’RE INVITED!

Christmas Party on the streets with Jackets for Jesus!

UPDATE – Over 800 backpacks out and being filled.  Thanks to each of you filling them in love.  Over 100 have already been returned.  God is too good.  If you missed out…  Go buy some, fill them and join us!

The party on the streets is this Sunday night. You’re Invited!

You’re doing so much to make this an incredible Christmas on the streets for hundreds of people living in urban poverty.  Thank You!

Last year- 2011 -we had 1,200 people in line.  HUNDREDS went without a meal or a backpack.  That doesn’t have to happen this year – but success will require an insane level of generosity in the days to come.

If you’d like to donate to help us buy more backpacks – contact me today.

If you’ve already donated- thank you so very much.

Backpacks are no longer available for pickup at Central Community.  If you need backpacks – find a good discount house and buy some.

Suggestions For Filling Christmas Backpacks For The Homeless

Food Items:
Water bottle, Snacks (Raisins, nuts, candy, dried fruit, crackers), hot chocolate, cookies, gift certificates to McDonalds/Starbucks etc.
Clothing Items:
Jacket (even a good used one is fantastic), Sweatshirt, T-shirt, underwear, new white socks, jacket, rain poncho, warm hat, gloves.
Personal Care Items:
Toothbrush, toothpaste, mints, gum, lotion, soap, shampoo, wash cloth, hand towel, comb or brush, floss, toilet paper.
Miscellaneous Items:
Bible, stationary, stamps, Radio or MP3 player, books, magazines, watch, first aide kit, phone cards/calling cards, a Christmas card, etc.

Gift Cards have been highly requested this year.  Small amounts for fast food, Kinkos, Staples, etc…

Think of what you would like/want if you were homeless and living on the streets. Feel free to use your imagination!

Filled backpacks can be returned to Jackets For Jesus, at Central Community, no later than Sunday, December 23rd at 5:00PM.  Alternative drop off is our meeting pointMcDonald’s just off Peck Rd exit and the 60 fwy (1185 Durfee Ave., South El Monte, CA, google map at link)  – we’ll leave in a caravan from there to the streets at approximately 9:30pm.

Backpacks can be dropped off with us at the McDonalds between 9-9:30pm, even if you’re unable to join us on the streets.  All packs must be in the LARGE TRUCK before we leave McDonalds.

If you have extra jackets, etc… bring them with you to McDonald’s.

Thanks so much.  Looking forward to a fantastic evening together.

Merry Christmas!


so many dads…

March 1990 Jackets for Jesus Letter


This Post Covers 3 Pages – The 1990 Letter is in the next 2 Post

Father’s Day on the streets is always a challenge- so many dads… so many children… so very far from home.  We were a small group of workers last week with a HUGE amount of food.  Jodi and the team in the kitchen do such an amazing job of loving people with warm, delicious, nutritious food.  This week it was lasagna casserole, emmmm….

2 of this week’s workers: Amanda- one of our regulars and Thai- on her first trip to the streets both shared that they’re just 22 years old- maybe one was 21, the other 23, either way… 22.  Listening to them talk about their college degrees, their hopes and dreams, their music… couldn’t help but think that 22 years ago- in my mid 30’s –Jackets for Jesus had already been serving the heart of the city for over 2 years.

March 1990, when I wrote the letter I’m posting they hadn’t even been born- now they’re amazing, and I’m not exaggerating, amazing young adults with huge hearts and huge dreams giving of themselves in service.  I’m so very humbled to work alongside great people like this.

Violence was common in the early years of our work on skidrow.  Came across this letter in my desk today and thought I’d share this window into what it could be like in the middle of the night in a place we had yet to earn the trust of people fighting to stay alive.  Written in WordPerfect -well before Word- and printed on an old dot-matrix printer connected to an honest to goodness print-spooler… makes me feel old just remembering all that stuff!

The face of urban poverty has changed but the fact that it remains says an awful lot about us as a culture… as individuals… if you’ve grown frustrated with the pace of change in the world, why not start with yourself?  Jackets for Jesus is an incredible place to learn how to serve others, to break down the barriers that divide us as people and to give your life in love.  It worked for us last week.  It’s given me a healing point in the middle of places people want to turn away from for nearly my entire adult life.  I recommend it still.

You’re Invited!


This Post Covers 3 Pages – The 1990 Letter is in the next 2 Post

so many dads… part 2 (first page of letter)

so many dads… part 3

When Los Angeles Was Burning…

When Los Angeles Was Burning… pt 2

serving together in love

Jim and Joann Minnis - share a night with Jackets for Jesus

It’s more fun than you can imagine– a life filled with adventure -serving God where and when He opens the door.  Some people might look at this picture and just see 3 senior citizens.  Knowing just part of our stories- at least a good portion of the last half century -I see God’s Hand at work in ways none of us could have imagined as children.  Not Jim or Joanne, growing up in Princeton, Indiana, far from wealthy.  Joy in serving rarely crossed my mind, growing up with all I needed, just a 30 minute drive from 3rd and Main St… but incredibly far from the urban poverty of skidrow. 

Princeton– my father’s hometown -where our parents family knew deep poverty.  Joanne and I share a grandfather we never knew- killed deep in a seam of the coal mines that once ruled working class families like ours.  Joanne’s dad was also killed in the mines.  We grew up with the stories… not of great men but of men of God with great hearts for their families.  We were constantly reminded: “Remember who you are.”  Our lives were born of solid working stock families that faced tragedy and loss – yet were held together by  love.  We were taught by example to serve together in love.

Jim and Joanne have been such an important part of that lesson in my life.  It was such a blessing to share a simple evening together on the streets of Los Angeles.  Standing with them for this picture, I somehow felt so very connected, and, as men and women on the corner looked on, maybe just a tad of a show off… the wealth of so much family in the midst of people who’ve been desperately disconnected, for whatever reason, from life, love and home.

Family still happens in the heart of our city.  Watching the news this week I was excited to see a story about an abandoned baby rescued by a young homeless couple.  The interview began and there was Cass and Joseph, two Sunday night regulars, a young couple who’ve lost so very much, living on the concrete at “our” corner.

They knew what to do when a child’s life was at risk- even if it meant putting their own well-being in harms way -they called the police for help.  It’s against the law to sleep where they’ve got their tent set up- everything they own could have been confiscated -even still they called.  Somewhere- a mom and dad deserve to be proud of their adult kids -hope they caught the story on the news.  If not- if you’re looking for your kids, cruising the internet -enjoy the news story… I sure did.

Click on the video box to watch their interview.  (think it will redirect you from this page) I know they’d appreciate your prayers.  Sure sounds like the baby and mom need prayer as well.  Pray that this act of kindness might be just part of the legacy of serving in love that they build for their children and grandchildren.  Join Jackets for Jesus in praying that none of us see people living in poverty as invisible, lazy or not worth our time.  Some Sunday nights the simple opportunity to serve in love has changed my life, opened up the door to a grander vision of what God’s all about and it’s always an adventure.

Last week we took the van and two cars worth of workers to the streets.  Come out this week and meet the newest “stars” in our line.  Thank them personally.  You can join us as we serve together in love.  You’re Invited.  You’re needed.  Now, more than ever.

for changing lives,

Pastor Eric

Eric M. Denton, pastor

Central Community


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