Long Beach resident Charron Gonder has been feeding the community’s homeless population since 2010, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she decided to turn her efforts into a non-profit organization, now known as name of Peace of Mind Advisory Services.
While Gonder initially intended to use her experience as an addiction specialist to inform her work (hence counseling services in the name), it was the need she saw everyday on the streets of Long Beach that truly shaped what Tranquility Counseling Services has become. .
“I just saw a need for people who needed blankets, food, clothing and shelter, and that’s what I saw myself doing on a regular basis,” she said. “And it wasn’t about bringing someone into an office, sitting down, advising them and asking how they could get better. It just wasn’t for me.
At the start of the organization, Gonder could only provide one food distribution per month, but today, Tranquility Counseling Services conducts twice-monthly food distributions at New Hope Church, typically feeding around 200 people. Everytime.
Although the pandemic has had an impact on food insecurity, distributions have continued steadily, with Gonder pulling out all the stops to meet the increased needs.
“My goal is that I can be in this situation and people I know can be in this situation, and I just wouldn’t want anyone to walk past me if I needed help in any way. whatever,” Gonder said. “That’s where my passion comes from, I wish someone would do it for me.”
Additionally, Gonder hosts an annual student backpack and offers Thanksgiving turkey and food bag giveaways, as well as Christmas toy giveaways. Additionally, Tranquility provides monthly care packages for homeless people, usually around downtown Long Beach.
Gonder has also expanded its efforts to reward students and celebrate other members of the community; Last May, scholarships were awarded to 10 African-American men who graduated from Poly High School (with the help of a partnership with Snoop Dogg), and during Black History Month, the organization chooses a school or two in the Long Beach Unified School District and drop off gift bags.
As a reward for good grades, students also received gift cards or even trips to Lakers or Clippers games, courtesy of Tranquility Counseling Services.
“I want these kids to have some kind of incentive to do well in school and do well after school,” Gonder said. “My goal is to raise money so I can inspire these kids to work hard, get an education, and be something great.”
Additionally, last September, Gonder even hosted an event honoring six women of color who have been in business for over 20 years.
And in the meantime, between events and food distributions, Gonder struggles to answer cries for help, often trying to connect people experiencing homelessness to resources such as showers.
“This is where I live, this is where my son was born. He’s 13, I do everything for him too,” Gonder said. “I want him to see the example that I set because he’s also a kid of color and he has his own challenges too, so I try to mold him to be successful.”
Although becoming a non-profit organization allowed the organization to receive food and item donations, and Gonder was able to associate with people such as football player Juju Smith-Schuster, player baseball players Darryl Strawberry and Snoop Dogg, most of his services are pocket-funded.
“That would be the biggest challenge, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m starting to speak up a little more, because a lot of people don’t know I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” she said. declared. .
While her top priority remains providing food and resources to homeless people in Long Beach, she would like to be able to provide larger scholarships to more students at more schools and expand the organization’s offerings further.
“Every day we wake up is just a blessing and then a challenge in itself as well,” Gonder said. “So if I can be a difference to someone while I’m here, then I think that’s my greatest achievement.”
Donate to Tranquility Counseling Services here, or contact Charron Gonder at 562-787-5173 or [email protected].
Tranquility Counseling Services food distributions are held every first and third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at New Hope Church, 1119 E. Rhea St.