Hollywood awards season gift bags are so valuable that recipients are supposed to report them to the IRS. The apparently defunct Academy Awards' gift bags were worth $230,000-plus — more than four times the median family income in Los Angeles County.
The nonprofit Savage Hearts is bringing gift bags of a different sort to the homeless women of Venice today. The event is called "Love Ride," with bags delivered by bicycle. Items don't include Swiss watches and French lotions, however. The bags feature survival gear such as water, snacks, blankets, sunscreen, lip balm, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, underwear, socks and feminine hygiene products.
"I have seen what a difference we can make in another person's life by simply being kind and listening," Love Ride founder Liz Devin says via email. "Love Ride gives us a chance to take the time to acknowledge the brothers and sisters that are in different places in life than we may be, but we are all still connected."
The group has been doing the giveaway for four years and this year expanded to San Francisco and Miami. It plans to reach 250 women in Venice alone today.
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Among the Love Ride's partners is Conscious Period, which offers deals in which consumers can buy tampons for homeless women.
While the giveaway won't make a dent in the city's gross inequality, it will ensure that some women living on the streets feel some of that West Coast warmth. Volunteers dress in pink and pin red hearts to their clothing.
"My dream come true will be when people are celebrating Valentine's Day with Love Rides all over the world," Devin says. "We are all about sharing love, smiles, kindness and hugs."
The ride started at noon at 15 Catamaran St. in Venice.