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Sandwiches and violins are therapy for Skid Row

Love expressed toward homeless shelter residents helps them forget

L.A.’s Skid Row is being served sandwiches and serenaded in an effort to help the homeless.

Skid Row houses a homeless shelter ,and yesterday, the non-profit Street Symphony led by Robert Gupta played for its residents. Gupta’s first time visiting the shelter was when his student, Nathaniel Ayers, was a resident. Gupta was taken aback by the conditions of Skid Row ands wanted to provide something therapeutic for the residents of the shelter.

Gupta said, “I thought, you know, what was the point of being a musician if a place like Skid Row existed? [The] only thing I knew how to do was to make music, so I contacted the social workers on Skid Row and said, ‘I want to play concerts.’” Gupta took the responsibility upon himself to create a cultural activity for Skid Row.

While residents of the shelter find it hard to admit to their situation, they realize that pastimes of the like really do help. Diana Dow, a resident of Skid Row commented on the musical therapy, “It takes me away from the situation,” adding, “I’m not out there seeing the chaos that I live around. Here, I’m listening to something that soothes my spirit.”

Meanwhile, Ray Castellani celebrates giving his one-millionth sandwich to the Skid Row shelter. Castellani has made weekly contributions to Skid Row for the last 25 years. Lydell Young received the distinguished sandwich, which had the number 1,000,000 written across the package.

Along with the day’s lunches came chocolate bars and a slice of cake in honor of the millionth sandwich.

But, Castellani emphasizes the significance of expressing love to the residents of Skid Row. One of its residents, Marshall Phillips commented on Castellani’s uniqueness, saying, “I think of him as a friend.”

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