It’s May already, and that means Big Sunday Weekend is just around the corner!
Today was Distribution Day, a day where Big Sunday project captains pick up their event supplies from the Big Sunday organization. It normally happens on the Sunday before Big Sunday Weekend, but that Sunday this year is Mother’s Day, so they moved it to two weeks prior.
And I was sooo not ready.
First off, a heavy schedule today. My church music duties in the morning, then Big Sunday distribution pickup, then the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC, then my other church gig. Phew! Then I have to pick up my sister at LAX later tonight.
Last year I was able to stuff 100 t-shirts and water bottles into my 2005 Saturn Ion sedan, but even with an anticipated 70 volunteers this time around, I also requested 15 bags of Home Depot-donated Kellogg Gro-Mulch for our garden. Ain’t gonna fit in my car this time. I send out a request to all my social network friends for a pickup or van but to no avail. So then came Plan B: Renting a pickup at U-Haul.
Shouldn’t take that long, right? There’s a U-Haul facility in my neighborhood, I should be able to find one there!
Dropped in — they were out of pickups. They had the small trucks, which was too bulky and overkill for my needs. I was able, though, to reserve one at another location, and 15 minutes later, on my way home, I got a phone call informing me that U-Haul’s Downtown L.A. location (actually located closer to Pico-Union and USC) had a cargo van available.
I wasted no time.
I got my dad to drop me off at the location since I had no time to spare at this point (1 p.m.) and after acquiring the van, I headed straight to Universal Studios, where the distribution activities were.
Same as last year, I was greeted by Big Sunday founder and executive director David Levinson (who’s also a TV and movie producer and writer in his own right), who sat at the entrance just like any other volunteer. The man’s total lack of pretense and the fact that he even remembered me from last year leaves you no choice but to admire the organization and the people who work and volunteer for it.
The Big Sunday distribution zone had taken over Universal’s “main street” backlot (recently rebuilt after a devastating fire a few years back), which was the backdrop for countless TV shows and movies – Back To The Future being the most memorable. The “businesses” were pick-up locations, and I was guided to the appropriate spots where I signed up supplies for: mulch, water bottles and t-shirts. The mulch was loaded in by volunteers faster than I could imagine them to. The water bottles were loaded efficiently as well, same with the t-shirts.
I also saw familiar faces from the Big Sunday organization, like Dylan Gasperik, one of the captains coordinators, and Gabe Peterson, the person in charge of finances. I was also interviewed by Linda Rubin from Studio City Patch (Here I am at 1:14):
There was also live music being performed at the event, and in fact it counted as a Big Sunday volunteer activity for certain groups who couldn’t schedule theirs on the weekend of May 14-15. Though I was in a hurry, I did take a couple minutes to take in the sights, both to immerse myself and be inspired by the Big Sunday atmosphere, as well as enjoy being in the middle of a famous Hollywood movie backlot (without being confined to a tour tram).
Then I headed home. Originally, I was to unload the items, then return the van, but I had until 1 p.m. Monday to keep the thing, so I decided to just park it on my street, unload the items at Lexington Ave. Primary Center tomorrow, and return it by noon. That way, I was able to make the Festival of Books. What a day…Big Sunday Weekend, here we come!