I never knew that there were so many homeless and hungry people living just a few miles from my home. That they were being fed every night through the generous efforts of some very good people. I learned quite a bit from the experience.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 25, 2009
Richard Maize and his family have been respected for their philanthropy, the giving of thousands of dollars to dozens of charities over the years.
These charities have included organizations and causes including the American Cancer Society, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Hurricane Katrina, Los Angeles Police Foundation, Big Brothers / Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel, green environmental organizations and Cedars Sinai Board of Governors.
Rochelle Maize was among those recently honored at the Los Angeles Business Journal's seventeenth annual Women Making a Difference Awards.
Together with her husband, Richard, the Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation has been reaching out to help those in need from LA to Jerusalem.
The Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation is a philanthropic organization that supports and contributes volunteer and financial resources to community and global causes by supporting programs focusing on art, culture, family services, and health care. But until this week, most of their good efforts were limited to writing out checks from the comfort of their Beverly Hills home. This physical distance from those that Richard and Rochelle Maize were actually helping was broken down this week.
Leaving the luxury of their multi million dollar home, Rochelle Maize, Ally Maize and Richard Maize ventured out on a cool evening in honor of the spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas to downtown Los Angeles where food is provided to the homeless and the hungry.
The food is donated by a wide variety of companies and organizations and is given to those less fortunate every evening.
" I was very surprised and shocked by what I saw," said Richard Maize. "I never knew that there were so many homeless and hungry people living just a few miles from my home. That they were being fed every night through the generous efforts of some very good people. I learned quite a bit from the experience."
Richard Maize, who operated the largest the mortgage banking company in the US, continues: "Rochelle and I arranged for a donation of approximately 300 individual polyester blankets. Before I left home, I quickly went through my closet and drawers and found many shirts, sweaters, shoes, a jacket, tee-shirts and socks to fill up a large trash bag in hopes these pieces of clothing would find a good home. There were various other donations we brought from other families that filled another trash bag mostly of woman's clothing."
Richard Maize continues: "When we arrived, about 6 pm, there was a very orderly and long line of the underprivileged people waiting to be served their daily dinner. It was great to see the how nice these people were to each other and the how great the volunteers were to the homeless. I have never interacted with the underprivileged before this evening. Other than giving handouts in way of cash when asked, is about all I have done. Perhaps I was a bit frightened by them or concerned of their sometime uncleanliness."
As a young and ambitious graduate from California State University, Northridge, Richard Maize began his business career investing in Southern California real estate. In 1988, he co-founded a mortgage banking company that has grown into one of the largest and most well respected mortgage brokerage firms in the US. With an entrepreneurial spirit and tireless effort, Richard Maize expanded his business and became known as an industry expert, regularly appearing as a commentator for KCAL-TV news sharing his insights about real estate trends, marketing and finance.
Richard Maize was also a frequent guest on KWHY-TV's Mortgage Update segments, articulately discussing the volatilities of the real estate industry. An innovator always intent on finding solutions, Richard developed the "Power Pak" loan processing software which today is rated as one of the best technologies in the industry.
Since his early years, Richard Maize, a financial genius with a heart of gold, has only known success. And as such he has associated primarily with the rich and famous.
But this cold, dark night in LA walking among and talking to homeless men and women was about to change his life.
"Most of these poor and homeless people had a preference on the color of the blanket that they were about to receive. They had a choice of blue or tan and took only one as requested. There were a few that were quite desperate and tried to take more than one blanket. The type of clothes that they wanted was also interesting. They were by and large very particular in the color and size. They would walk away, in some instances, without any of these luxurious pieces of clothing if the size or color wasn't perfect. I found it totally amazing."
Richard Maize states: "I was speaking to one man who was, in his words, in charge of different events for a few companies. He was well paid getting around 80,000 dollars annually and two years ago, he was let off and no family to turn to or in his case not wanting to. He was well spoken and obviously educated. He was sitting among the homeless. He was a pretty interesting guy. I offered him money 20 dollars that he refused because he didn't want personal handouts. You never know where life will lead. Much of it is skill, but a lot of it is luck. This man had lost all of his luck."
"The next person I met really stood out. Picture this, there was an African American about 6'3" and about 225 pounds. Our eyes met as he was picking up a blanket. He was well groomed and dressed in clean clothing," said Richard Maize.
"As we spoke, he told me that it was important to keep hygienically clean. He spends about 2 dollars a day to take a shower daily at some type of YMCA - Young Men's Christian Association or other similar club and he washes his clothing regularly. He wore what appeared to be a diamond earring stud in one of his ears. He looked great and was prideful in his appearance. He told me he lost his family and job due to drugs but have has now been clean for almost 3 years. He speaks to many homeless to try to make them or keep them clean."
Richard Maize continues: "I went deep in my bag of clothing and pulled out a Swede yellow jacket that was mine yet very big on me. I hadn't worn it for 3 years. I needed to find the right person to hand it to. I think I found him. I asked him if he wanted it. He replied: 'lets see it' and then with a smile said: 'sure. thanks so much'.
"Before he went his own way, I said to him that this jacket was very special. It once cost close to 500 dollars. I didn't say that so I would get a better 'thank you'. I mentioned it to him so that he might take pride in his new article of clothing. He was elated. He walked across the street to show it to his buddies. Then, he folded it up neatly and placed it under his arm to carry for safekeeping. Finally, as it was getting cooler, he put the jacket over his body. It fit perfectly. He then walked down the street with his head high with pride. It was unbelievable."
Maize reflects: "I am far from perfect. I have made my share of mistakes. The important thing is to learn from these mistakes and not repeat them. To learn from others, from those whose lives who either through economic conditions or emotional problems have hit rock bottom."
Richard Maize, now looking down with tears swelling in his eyes, then said: "I realized how important having socks and tee-shirts were to these people. I am now going to buy 20 dozen socks and t-shirts at Costco and bring them back there tomorrow evening. Not just for Hanukkah, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but for a few evenings every month. I was taken in by these people and want to help more. To bring just one smile, just one evening of warmth and comfort to someone who has fallen through the cracks, this is what we should all strive for throughout the year."
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