ORLANDO, Fla. — Every Thanksgiving, some of us host family dinners, maybe even loosening our belts after a filling meal. But there are others who aren't eating.
- Gus Martinez of Orlando founded Miles of Help Through Christ
- Every other week, they feed hungry people in Orlando, Kissimmee
- Their biggest event of the year is Lake Eola Thanksgiving dinner
- Visit Miles of Help Through Christ's website
That's a problem Gus Martinez and his team of volunteers are trying to fix.
Martinez, who lives in Orlando, founded Miles of Help Through Christ in 2010. It was a way for him to give back to the community and brighten some lives along the way.
"The saddest part of it is, when somebody you hug starts to cry, because they haven't had something as simple and as basic as a hug in over five years," Martinez says.
Every other week in Orlando and Kissimmee, his volunteers bring food to people in extended-stay places, the streets, even in the woods and under bridges.
Pedro Saraiba of Titusville helps Martinez in his mission and says what he sees can be heartbreaking.
"A majority of the people that we serve in motels, they're families. We see a lot of kids," Saraiba explained.
During the holidays, the outreach sometimes becomes overwhelming to Martinez.
"Unfortunately, I also see the elderly people in need," Martinez says. "They literally have to pick between medicine and food."
Martinez says the community as a whole has a lot of work to do.
"We need to stop categorizing people as disposable," Martinez says.
Volunteer Laura Rivero puts it a different way.
"As soon as you share your blessing, you receive more and more and more," she says.
Martinez refuses to take all of the credit.
"I couldn't do any of this if it wasn't for the volunteers," he says.