Assisting thousands of neighbors living in the streets of South Los Angeles was just the beginning of Miss Rodger’s Neighborhood mission. Today, the organization is providing hot meals, free laundry, clothing, and even immigration service assistance with the ultimate goal of helping people reach their full potential.

This community nonprofit created to generate resources for homeless and economically disadvantaged families is expanding its reach to help more people meet their essential needs thanks to the recent partnership with United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

Miss Rodgers’ Neighborhood, was selected as one of the 87 local grassroots organizations serving tens of thousands of people most impacted by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of UWGLA’s $2.85 million grantmaking.

“When anyone comes to us and they have a need, we work to fulfill that need,” said Founder CEO, and executive director, Ms.Rodgers. “You can’t make the best decisions for yourself when your stomach is growling, or when you’re stressed out because you can’t pay the bills.”

Not too long ago, Ms. Rodgers was in the same shoes as those people she now helps get on their feet. She experienced homelessness, and as a formerly incarcerated person, she was able to “survive” the consequences of a flawed system.

“I know the system well. I survived it. I told myself, ‘If I’m able to get through it’, I was going to do what I could to help as many people through as possible,” she said.

“I’m very much about self-actualization and helping people to become the best version of themselves.”

Ms. Rodgers

As a single mother of two children, she has an optimistic vision for the new generations of Angelenos. “They’re amazing. They’re going to take it further than we ever could.”  

Ms. Rodgers shared with us what her organization is doing to create prosperity for all.

Miss Rodgers' Neighborhood joins United Way of Greater L.A. in creating L.A.'s future together

Do you want to mention any recent wins for your organization?

Ms. Rodgers: This has been an amazing year for us growth-wise and just being able to expand our services. We have opened up four community fridges throughout South LA, free for the community. We’ve partnered with Catholic Charities, which helps DACA recipients with any type of immigration services. And we also rent out the laundromat for people to come and wash their clothes for free We’ve also been able to expand our rental assistance program and help more families as well. That also prevents homelessness and it also helps to stabilize families to where they can truly live their best lives.

How does your organization help to build the community?

Ms. Rodgers: We have a saying at Miss Rogers Neighborhood. It’s ‘our unity is our wealth’, and that’s basically if we have something and we’re able to give it to the next person that helps them live their best life, have their best day, or become the best version of themselves. That’s how we create that wealth and that’s how we continue to spread that richness and that love throughout the community. It is contagious once you start it. I think people just need to be reminded of what community looks like and what it’s like to help one another and be self-sustainable.

Why should people care about their neighbors?

Ms. Rodgers: Oh, my goodness. We’re only as strong as our weakest link. We cannot progress as people, or as a nation. Yes, we have more billionaires in the world than ever before, but there are more people hungry than ever before and the dichotomy is crazy. We cannot progress as a nation when people are still hungry, when people still don’t have homes, when people still don’t have clothing, those basic physiological needs that are necessary to live as an actual human being… That’s why it’s so important to always look back and to give back and to do what we can to help those in need because we grow together when we help each other.

What is your vision for the future of LA?

Ms. Rodgers: The future of L.A. it’s beautiful in my eyes, and it always has been its unity, its wealth, its prosperity, its growth. It’s, you know, purposeful. It’s everyone having what they need. It’s smiles and happiness and joy. There’s more than enough money funneling through the city of Los Angeles, the county of Los Angeles, and the state of California, for all of us to have what we need. There are more than enough resources for everyone. The scarcity mindset, kind of programmed into us, it’s not true. There’s more than enough for everybody to have what we need to be the best version of ourselves.

Learn more about Miss Rodgers’ Neighborhood here. Follow it on social media @missrodgershood.

Esmeralda Fabián