Columbia, PA, and Los Angeles are 2,600 miles apart. One has a population of 10,000 and is home to the Turkey Hill Experience. The other has nearly 3.9 million people living there and claims nine professional sports teams. Despite their seemingly vast differences, there are some stark similarities between these two areas.
One shared problem is homelessness. Los Angeles has an area called Skid Row where it is legal for thousands of people to live on the streets. For Columbia, it is also dealing with this same situation that’s affecting its community in a number of ways.
Realizing the common threads between the two, the Rev. Dave Powers, the pastor at Columbia Presbyterian Church, decided to organize a mission trip to Los Angeles in the fall of 2016 in order to better understand LA’s struggles and hopefully bring back some useful tools and information to help combat the problem in Columbia.
One of the focal points of the trip was the Dream Center in Los Angeles, which is an outreach in a former hospital building called “Queen of the Angels” in Echo Park that caters to up to 500 people. The Dream Center ministers to, among others, gang members, drug addicts, unwed mothers and children without parents, motorcycle groups, AIDS victims, and various ethnic groups.