Each year on the day before Thanksgiving, Laney Masse
provides sack lunches to the less fortunate around the cities of Fullerton and
Anaheim, marking this her third year.
Masse makes all the purchases herself to make up to 20 sack lunches. What she usually includes in the lunch is a sandwich, fruit, chips, granola bar, water and juice. She prepares the lunches the night before she goes out.
Masse strays away from volunteering at shelters because of the first-hand experience with personally handing out a meal to those in need.
“For me, I feel like it’s helping those who can’t make it to a shelter for help or refuse to go for help,” said Masse. “And you always have to ask them first. Maybe some don’t want a lunch and that’s fine. Luckily, no one has said no yet.”
Masse starts her route on the 91 freeway, circling around Harbor Boulevard and Lemon Street. She implies that this is where she tends to see the less fortunate who are asking for help.
This is something that Masse expressed on always wanting to do but never finding that push to do it. She seems used to handing out the sack lunches now with ease as she describes her first year.
“One year, my friend Jesse, asked me for a favor. He wanted to hand out blankets so I suggested that if he did that I would pass out lunches. After that, I wanted to keep doing it,” said Masse. “It was nerve-wrecking. You always think about how to approach them without offending them in any way. You want to show them that you are there to help because there are people out there who care.”
Masse also circles around Pearson Park in Anaheim, near the 91 freeway. She explains that there usually is a community of homeless people there who set up camp. Here is where she is able to hand out most of the lunches.
Masse also goes to the nearby Salvation Army on 1100 N La Palma Pkwy. She says that in an alleyway right next to the store is a place where many homeless people set up camp as well.
“They seem extremely grateful to have something to eat. I think you can notice it in the fact that they open up their lunch right away and start eating,” said Masse.
Masse said she finds joy in listening to those less fortunate that want to talk, “I think so far the one conversation that stood out to me was a man who was homeless by choice. He said he was trying to save up money so he could pay for his grandmother’s retirement home expenses,”
Masse expressed her desire to do the same thing again around Christmas time with the idea of adding more to the lunches.
Not diving into her past too much, Masse explained where her want to help the less fortunate comes from.
“My influence comes from my dad. I only had him for four years of my life, but it’s funny how much a child can pick up at such a young age. I saw how he always helped and it stuck with me,” said Masse, “I don’t do it for the recognition. I don’t want to be praised for it. I do it because I care and this is what my dad taught me.”