Each day, a number of kind acts slip by unnoticed, as those who are performing them aren’t doing so to garner recognition. This is the case with Mark Kanter, the president of MBK Management Inc., who manages apartment complexes throughout Los Angeles County, including two in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“I feel pretty fortunate in my life, and I have empathy for people that are struggling during this time,” Kanter said. “The people who live paycheck-to-paycheck or don’t have significant savings are the people that are being affected the worst by what’s going on. So what can I do?”
His initial thought was to help only those most affected, but he quickly changed his mind in the spirit of fairness and in trying to perform a nice gesture. “If they need it, it’s great. If they don’t need it, I think they appreciate the gesture.”
While he had delivered pizza and drinks to the tenants at his properties in Northern California, his property supervisor, Jessica Robbins, came up with a better idea for the SCV after learning that Egg Plantation was offering groceries.
“It was a perfect fit,” Kanter said. “We could not only help keep people in business and support their local businesses, but also provide food to our tenants.”
“About three or four weeks ago, when this whole thing started, (Kanter) actually called and bought (around) 150 produce bags from me,” added Shannon Mee, co-owner of Egg Plantation in Newhall. “He wanted everything filled with $10 worth of produce, so we made sure there was one pound of meat in every bag, fresh produce … (such as) some onions, tomatoes, cabbage, a pound of bacon or a pound of steak or whatever it was.”
Those bags were then delivered to each unit at Kanter’s apartment complexes, and while many would’ve stopped there, Kanter continued on, just last Friday making another delivery to his tenants.
“I have a friend who owns a restaurant in Woodland Hills that I go to, and she’s been struggling to keep her employees, so this was a way to give her some business and keep her afloat, and also provide meals to our tenants,” Kanter added.
So, he again partnered with local restaurants, this time providing dinner for each tenant and their families.
“(We) delivered meals to 225 families here in Santa Clarita and then in Pacoima,” Mee said, adding that each meal consisted of pasta, salad and garlic bread. “He’s feeding all of his apartment units, which I thought was just amazing.”
“He’s made two large donations, not only just for our tenants, but he’s also done it for first responders,” added Robbins, who has worked for Kanter for more than a dozen years. “He’s honestly one of the most generous people I’ve ever met in my life. … The things he does for our community are incredible, and he does (them) just because he’s a good person.”
Since then, Kanter said he’s received a number of nice thank-you cards. “That’s really not what it’s about, but it does show me how much people really appreciate it, so it’s nice to see.”
And this, he said, is certainly not his last donation.
“I don’t know, I think that, for me, it’s not about the bottom line, it’s making sure that people who are in need get help today,” he added. “When you do things for the right reason, it comes back to you in one form or another.”
It’s a saying that someone said to Kanter years ago he said comes to mind now.
“‘I don’t give to get, I get to give,’” he said. “That always resonated and stuck with me, and when you think about things in that context, it makes it easier to want to help other people and inspire giving.
“I feel that somebody’s character is really defined during the difficult times,” Kanter added. “When things are going great, it’s easy to do nice things, but when things are tough, people need help and those that can help need to step up and do it.”
Though Kanter isn’t looking for accolades, he hopes sharing his story of giving will inspire others to do the same.
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