Local Volunteers Make Impact Beyond Hometown

Anna McCurdy, Maya Porcelli, London Lang, Lucy Loken and Sofia Sotomayor are pictured at Garfield Park, where they recently held a food drive on behalf of Influence Change LA, which assists underserved communities. They’re members of South Pasadena High School’s class of 2017.
Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review

Several young people from South Pasadena High School’s class of 2017 are making an impact in the region through their participation in an organization that seeks to provide food, shelter, educational and wellness resources.
The local volunteers recently held an event in partnership with Influence Change LA, which donates food and other supplies to people in need throughout Southern California. Last week, organized by former SPHS students Sofia Sotomayor and Lucy Loken, they held a drive in Garfield Park, where they collected five carloads of necessities — canned goods, baby products, shoes and socks, feminine products and more. The goods are distributed through organizations such as Covenant House, the Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership, Bell Lighthouse Corps and other organizations.
“I became involved with the group because I attended a food drive Influence Change LA organized in Beverly Hills and was inspired to organize a similar food drive in my hometown of South Pasadena,” said Loken, who became active in the organization shortly after George Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody in May. “The food drive had an amazing turnout and was more successful than we could have ever hoped for. We had donations being dropped off consistently from 12:30 until 6:30 p.m. We were extremely touched and happy with the turnout and people’s generosity.”
Sotomayor and Loken have been involved in the regular protest marches for Black Lives Matter as well as South Pasadena Youth for Police Reform and other causes. They will be distributing some of the donations on Saturday to a food bank in Los Angeles’ skid row that has been established by Influence Change LA, which describes itself as supporting the black, youth and LGBTQ+ communities and “dedicated to inspiring change by uniting all backgrounds.”
While at SPHS, Loken was vice president of the Feminists Unite Club and Sotomayor was vice president of TASSEL, a nonprofit organization based in Cambodia that is dedicated to helping impoverished Cambodian students through English education.
Information about Influence Change LA can be found at @influencechangela on Instagram.