ORLANDO, Fla. – Food insecurity is one of the largest problems people are facing across Central Florida at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, but heroes are stepping up all over to help fill that void for their neighbors.
Heroes like Alex Medina, who has pretty much turned volunteering to help feed the community with Second Harvest Food Bank into a full-time job.
"So I'm always thinking about the person who needs food and the people that are needed to get the food where it's needed," said Medina. "This pandemic has shown that there's no specific clashes, no discrimination when it comes to hunger, we all need to eat."
The volunteer captain puts in full-time work at Second Harvest every week.
"There's food insecurity of some sort everywhere around us," said Medina. "It's just a matter of being able to to partner with the ability to be able to grab ahold of it and to be able to redistribute it to the places that are needed."
It's a labor of love that's saved the organization thousands of dollars over the past five years and counting.
"I was doing 40 to 45 hours a week with the staff. They welcomed that. They loved it. They helped me. They sowed into me," said Medina. "They certified me that I'm a volunteer and they certified me for equipment. I mean, they showed me computer work so I could can help out with staff, then they gave me the privilege to be able to train and to be able to do some other things."
Medina said if you have some downtime right now or are looking for a way to do your part and help make a difference, it's easy to get out and volunteer.
"The staff here are so loving and perfect. You can come, you can do a few shifts, you can do a lot of shifts," said Medina. "It's easy. There's no hard application process. There's basic static things that we need. You can start coming, feel it out, see if you like it. They're receptive to either way you start out."
In this pandemic, Medina said his faith and volunteer work have helped him have peace and trust that organizations like Second Harvest will help meet the ever-increasing needs of the people.
"It created an incredible influx in demand which took these shelves, if you will, into a state that there were already sensitive into even greater sensitive," said Medina. "But thank God, the pool of manufacturers and the efforts with Second Harvest in Central Florida reaching out to the community and every available source, we're able to sort of subsidize a little bit of the need that is needed. Not only do we build each other with faith and hope and the gospel, which is the true food, but we're able to facilitate the basic needs to get those out of the way so people can think clearly and be rested in their place."
Honored to be considered a community hero, Medina’s humility shines through-- urging everyone to be a hero in their own way to help neighbors get through these tough times.
“Hero is such an incredible word that I don’t feel comfortable with that because I don’t believe in winning outside of God,” said Medina. “There’s not one individual hero. So there’s a collaboration and a network of people that are working together. And that’s a beautiful thing.”