Affirmation and love in Los Angeles: 'I have something else to give'

Judy sitting in a church.
January 26, 2024
by Joel Gonzalez

In the heart of South-Central Los Angeles, a community often defined by its resilience, there's a narrative of transformation and hope unfolding through the dedicated efforts of Judy Starr at My Friends House. 

At 69 years young, Judy's story is a testament to the spirit of individuals who, long after retirement, discover a renewed sense of purpose and an untapped wellspring of compassion.

“I woke up one day and remembered, oh yeah, I have more life to live. I have something else to give,” she said. 

These were the words that awakened Judy into a life of service at My Friends House. An agency partner of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, My Friends House is rooted in their church and embodies the power of a purposeful life in making a positive impact. 

Judy's kindness reverberates through the space, creating an environment where people, irrespective of their circumstances, find a supportive community. In the act of giving, they receive not only food but a reaffirmation of their worth and a reminder that they are seen and cared for. 

“I'm always amazed at the folks who come to be served,” Judy said. “They do it needing and just wanting a little affirmation.”

Beyond the distribution of food, My Friend’s House becomes a culinary haven where sustenance extends to comfort. Judy expresses, "We at My Friend’s House allow people to have a little bit of comfort in their abilities to not just feed themselves, but to feed their family." 

Here, the act of providing food transforms into a gesture of empathy, a reminder of dignity, and a source of solace for people experiencing food insecurity.

As Black History Month unfolds, Judy's work takes on heightened significance. For her, it is "the opportunity to show who we are, to talk about where we've been, and mostly to try to get further along.”