Martin Benitez Torres
Over the past few months, we've brought several donations to the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. It's a wonderful organization that makes a real impact on the lives of the men, women and children affected by homelessness in our community. But I will be honest, it's taken some getting used to for the kids.
The first time we visited, they were afraid when we drove through the gates surrounding the shelter. The next time, we brought friends and one commented that it looked like a scary place. I don't blame them for being nervous -- it certainly does look different from our suburban neighborhood.
But to really be a part of a community, isn't it important to experience the struggles others face ... even just for a moment? I asked the kids to think about what it must be like for children whose families stay here. How they might be scared, too. It got quiet in the car. It was quiet on the way home after every visit, too.
On this third trip to the Coalition, we brought a men's bike for a resident to use to get to work. This kindness was for Martin Benitez Torres, a hardworking student with dreams of being a pharmacy tech.
Our family is so fortunate. We have so much, it's easy for us to donate things like bikes, diapers and costumes. But putting ourselves in the shoes of folks who live and work here ... that's a lot more difficult. Today we took that time. For Martin ... for the 49 ... for those among us who aren't so fortunate.