While homeless, Volusia nonprofit founder created disaster relief organization

Healthy Souls International helps people through natural disaster, COVID-19 pandemic

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Maria Davila, the founder of Healthy Souls International, is passionate about helping others. But what many don’t know, is that while she helped people in struggling and sometimes devastating situations, she was battling her own.

In 2018, Davila and her son ended up homeless.

“I was in a car accident and it basically left me with some injuries where I lost my jobs,” Davila said. “I was couch surfing, so I slept in my car about 21 days altogether but I was homeless for 10 months and two days.”

Her compassion for others continued to grow and she founded the nonprofit disaster relief organization called Healthy Souls International. Davila and several volunteers kept busy distributing more than 170,000 pounds of food and supplies to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas after hurricanes and earthquakes devastated those areas.

“I loved being able to help and have all those doors open. Coming home was the hard part because there was no home to come to,” said Davila.

Davila said she relied on faith and the kindness of others, turning her one box truck into her own warehouse where her focus quickly shifted to delivering groceries to those affected by COVID-19.

On May 13, Davila achieved another goal and now lives with her son in an apartment. Her son also graduated from high school.

“The highlight was just seeing my son smile when we finally moved in.”

Davila shared her story at Elevate Daytona Beach on Thursday night, which is an event that highlights speakers similar to a TED Talk. She’s now her own boss and hired a few employees to help with her organization as it continues to flourish.

“Don’t give up. If you have dreams, if you have goals. Just don’t give up. If I can do it, you can do it,” she said.

If you’d like to volunteer or donate, please go to www.healthysoulsinternational.org.

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