Open Collective
Open Collective
Published on September 26, 2023 by Ndindi Kitonga


We had a full summer here at PUMA! Here are some recent updates:

  1. Community Day August 9, 2023

This past summer we hosted a Community Day at two local interim housing motels. City programs have left residents without adequate food or services like mental health support. Some of our friends at the motel where we had the event have been in a motel for over a year waiting for permanent housing placement. For this community day, we had amazing meals and desserts from Free Food Collective, medical services from the All Power Free Clinic team, art supplies, and basic hygiene items. We also had a wonderful Know-Your-Rights Teach-In from a local housing collective comprised of formerly unhoused folks.

LA Emergency Storm Response System Insufficient for Unhoused Residents

During Tropical Storm Hilary, we kept checking in with our friends who live unsheltered outdoors, in vehicles, and at interim motels. Many were unaware of the upcoming storm. We also dropped off pallets, distributed flashlights, tents, tarps, zip ties, hygiene supplies, non-perishable foods, water and the like. We also upped our harm reduction efforts making sure that folks have plenty of Narcan and wound care. 

In addition to our mutual aid efforts, we are also advocating for services and safe places for people to go to during this storm. We and a coalition of other mutual aid groups wrote a demand letter to the city. We demanded that the city open ALL public buildings, hotels, libraries, public transportation hubs, parking structures, recreation centers, public school gyms and facilities, universities, council field offices, and Los Angeles City Hall to shelter unhoused people through this storm. The demands were not met, although several shelters (most of which were inaccessible to most) opened up. 

We know that climate-driven crises will continue to disproportionately affect our unhoused friends. We are thankful to all those who donated their resources and time during the tropical storm emergency. We look forward to growing our network and pushing the city to put resources into emergency plans that can protect the most vulnerable. 

We were featured in this piece written by Lisa Kwon of Prism Reports: LA emergency storm response system doesn’t do enough to consider unhoused residents

  1. WGA & SAG-AFTRA Strikes

Solidarity Projects
, another exciting collective we often collaborate with, is supporting the strikers. Through their Solidarity Meals restaurant partnerships, they are providing hundreds of meals per week to picketers on the strike lines at no cost to the guilds or members. You can reach out to them at [email protected] to get involved. We’ll be supporting the SAG-AFTRA strike lines now that it looks like WGA got a good deal for its people and will be returning to work.

  1.  Get Involved with our Network

We have several new volunteers and organizers. Here are our current efforts. Please contact us if you’re interested in joining us. Please DM us on Instagram or email us at [email protected].

-Monday Harm Reduction Outreach in Mar Vista, 4:30-5:30 pm.

-Wednesday Distro in Palms & Culver City, 4:30-6:00 pm, 6:00-7:30 pm

-Rapid Response- We try to address folks' needs throughout the week. This might mean dropping off supplies or picking them up, taking people to their appointments, and the like.

-Food Recovery & Distro-@freefoodcollective prepares hot meals for our Wednesday distro. Volunteers recover food on Tuesdays from a local grocer and take it to a church where it is refrigerated until the next day. FFC then whips up amazing meals for us on Wednesday afternoon. Free Food Collective also does produce distro across the Westside on Sundays at 3 pm. Email [email protected] to get involved.


P.S. We love sharing photos of what we're doing, but for the safety and dignity of our unhoused neighbors, we never post photos of peoples’ faces. We limit photos on our social media to furthermore encourage a more informative engagement, so thank you for reading our bimonthly updates! 

P.P.S. Resource for the month:
Almost one-third of the people living in Los County are food insecure to some extent. Extra food stamp payments kept Angelenos from going hungry during the Covid pandemic. But they ended this spring and volunteer workers are struggling to keep up with the need. This article by Phoenix Tso of LA Public Press looks at the important work volunteer-run food distributions are doing to meet community needs. The article also underscores the need for building sustainable food systems as local volunteerism can not address food insecurity on the scale in which it exists. 

Follow Food Justice organizer Melissa Acedera to learn more.