Photo/Carla Moran

“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” reads the Bible (Acts 20:35) and it’s a phrase often heard during the Christmas season.

Carla Moran is committed to putting this saying into action.

The Pacoima resident began a GoFundMe (https://bit.ly/3gjPMHv) on Dec. 5 hoping to raise $500 so she can prepare as many meals as possible to deliver to the homeless on Christmas Day.

It took some time, but the public is responding. At press time, $385 had been donated online.

“The goal is to make as much as we can with $500. I’m going to make a green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, a honey baked ham, rolls and pumpkin pie,” said Moran, 38, a single mother of two who is struggling financially herself but is still trying to teach her kids that sometimes it’s not what you get, it’s what you can do for others who are in a worse situation.

“‘Hoy por ti, mañana por mi’— today for you, tomorrow for me,” is something Moran said she learned from her mother growing up and it’s something she’s putting into practice today.

Provided Thanksgiving Meals

This is the second time in as many months that Moran is doing this.

Due to COVID-19, she decided to stay home and not spend Thanksgiving with relatives this year.

“My kids were bummed out, so I said, ‘let’s do something.’ We made extra food and purchased containers,” Moran said. She and her kids — Evan, 12, and Olivia, 9 — then headed out that night, visiting freeway underpasses and homeless encampments in the area and delivering the 32 meals she managed to prepare.

Both of her kids participated in this act of kindness. Evan and Olivia helped prepare the packages containing the meals.

“I just stood there and honked the horn and (people) came out,” explained Moran, who added she kept her kids in the car initially and also carried mace “because you never know.”

Moran said because of the pandemic, the family practiced for an hour before leaving the house on how to hand out the bags with the meals in a safe manner.

“We practiced how to hand the bags so that they could only touch the bag and not the hand, because I’m paranoid about the pandemic,” admitted the mother. But those who accepted the meal, she said, “were really grateful.”

There are several photos of the meals and even a video of her handing out the packages to the homeless on her GoFundMe page. She intends to post photos and videos of her Christmas giveaway, as well.

Moran says she received many messages after a post on the Facebook page “Pacoima! Represent!” A woman with six children even reached out to her the day after Thanksgiving and asked her if she had any meals left for her family. They were staying in a motel and had not had a Thanksgiving meal.

Moran told her she could prepare the meals but could not deliver them because she didn’t have money for gas. The woman ended up heading to Moran’s house to pick them up.

In a Financial Hole

Moran said her kids got such a kick out of the experience that they asked her if they could do it again, but on a bigger scale for Christmas.

That’s a tall task for Moran, who’s been without a job for months and only receives about $1,800 a month in unemployment benefits. She lives with her 74-year-old mother but is in a deep financial hole. She’s only partially paid her rent for several months and is behind on her electrical and other bills.

She’s been applying for jobs she can do at home, but so far she’s had no luck.

But that has not stopped Moran from wanting to show her kids that “even though we might be struggling financially, there are people who are even worse,” she said, her voice breaking up.

“My kids need to know that we might be struggling, but we’ll find a way, something good is going to happen,” Moran said. “The only reason why I haven’t lost it is because everybody’s going through this.”

This past weekend the family was at home when Moran started baking cookies and decided to make extra. Eventually, they made cookie baskets and handed them to neighbors with a little note saying, “Here’s something to make you smile.”

“My kids are learning that it feels better to give than to receive,” Moran said.

She is unable to buy presents for her children this year, but is trying to have a semblance of Christmas cheer in her home. The decorations are up and she’s wrapped empty boxes as if they were gifts “just for them (my children) to make them feel like Christmas is here.”

Many ‘Likes’

Preparing more meals for Christmas — as her children want her to do— is very difficult and that’s why she turned to GoFundMe, hoping to appeal to a larger audience.

At first, Moran’s posts on the Facebook page “Pacoima! Represent!” earned her hundreds of “likes” and positive comments but no donations.

That has changed, however, to where it now looks like she can reach her goal.

Still, Moran was willing to go ahead even if she had only raised enough money to prepare 20 meals.

“I already promised my kids,” she said. “We’re going to make it with what we can.”

The plan is to cook and prepare the meals a day before and then head out Christmas Day to offer them to those less fortunate.

Moran says the COVID-19 pandemic “has brought out the worst in people, but has also brought the nicest things out of people too, people doing amazing things for others.”

To help Carla Moran in her endeavor, visit https://bit.ly/3gjPMHv.

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