Volunteers aim to keep homeless dry, warm during El Nino storms

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Storms fueled by El Nino this season are hitting the homeless community hard. Local volunteers are trying to do their part to keep people warm and dry.

"The rain, it's just miserable. It's miserable for us so I can only imagine how cold it is for them," said Katrina Leiva, a volunteer with The Teas and Tarps project.

Staying warm and dry on a soggy day can be challenging for many and nearly impossible for those who are homeless.

"We've been on the other side so we know exactly how it feels, even on a day like today," said another volunteer Charles Rivers, who was once homeless himself.

Rivers went back to some of the same sidewalks he slept on as a volunteer with The Teas and Tarps project, handing out tarps, a cup of warm tea and cookies from his business.

"Everybody deserves some kind of shelter and warmth," said Jeffery Berman, the founder of The Teas and Tarps project.

Berman said he hopes to fulfill a need and make a connection.

"When you go and give somebody tea, and you have a cup of tea with them and you talk to them, you're creating a dialogue, and it really embraces the humanity in both people," Berman said.

Dozens of volunteers joined the effort over the wet weekend, armed with 150 tarps, teas and cups of hot water.

"It makes me feel more connected to people, especially to people who have less than I have," said volunteer Harriet Schlacht.

Young volunteer Jayden Leiva said it's all about being kind and giving back to people who are in need.

The Teas and Tarps project will hold more events hoping to expand across Los Angeles, providing a bit of shelter and warmth this winter.

"Anybody could be there, you know, you never know what's going to happen in your life, and you've got to show compassion, you've got to help," said Katrina Leiva.

To learn more about The Teas and Tarps project, visit www.theteabook.com/tarps.
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