ORLANDO, Fla. – Ever since she was a little girl growing up in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico nutrition has been Dr. Amadar Gonzalez’s passion, trading in her fried alcapurrias for mango smoothies these days now as a Doctor in General medicine with specializations in nutrition and HIV.
“A good smoothie with mango, yum, that’s the way you do it,” Dr. Gonzalez says with an accent and a smile that may be just as sweet as the smoothie she was describing.
Dr. Gonzalez keeps herself busy working in corrections in Sumter County, working at a clinic part-time, educating about nutrition both on the radio and in magazines and now running her new non-profit organization “De Corazon a Corazon”.
“De Corazon a Corazon is heart to heart. It’s a missionary medical organization,” she said. “It’s a beautiful project, it’s about one year but I think we have been doing a lot of things.”
In that year, she has taken her medical missionary work to many places including Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and the earthquakes in Puerto Rico earlier this year. But then COVID-19 came in and “De Corazon a Corazon” had a new community to reach, right here at home.
“When we started everything with COVID, the first thing I said was, ‘Oh my God, the homeless don’t have any masks or gloves. How are we going to be helping them?’”
She and her team backed by many local churches in both Orlando and Kissimmee went to their storage filled with over-the-counter medicine, medical supplies, masks, gloves and more and started distributing to many Hispanic families now finding themselves homeless due to the pandemic.
“We help everyone, we don’t distinguish but Hispanic is my community it’s my heart, of course they are going to be the first people that we are trying to help,” Dr. Gonzalez said.
She added many people would be surprised to know many of the homeless population in Central Florida are families new to the area from South American countries currently in distress. She said some of these families work in hospitality and have either lost their jobs or homes in the last several months.
“If you look around, you see all around that little area with trees, inside those trees we have families, we have children that are still there. They are good people, good people. We go everyday we go and have meals for them and come with different things,” she said.
It’s why Dr. Gonzalez was one of only four people the City of Orlando has designated as an unsung hero during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Dr. González has provided free meals and healthcare services to marginalized communities in Central Florida during the pandemic by participating in free health fairs. Her vocation towards her patients and the community make her realize herself as an enterprising woman but sensitive to the needs of our people,” said Luis M. Martinez, Orlando’s Deputy Manager of Multicultural Affairs & International Relations.
“That is another blessing and I feel so honored, because it is something that for me - it’s not myself,” she said. “I am Hispanic but there are a lot of Hispanics I work with. Maybe you interview me today, but there are many people that are working behind the curtain, they do a great job everyday and I honor them for the magnificent honor from the City of Orlando.”
Dr. Gonzalez is grateful for the honor and positively grateful for everything she has been able to do.
“We are blessed. You have no idea every time that you wake up in the morning, just to have a bed and toothpaste and you have breakfast. You have to be so grateful,” she said. “You have to be thankful for everything God has given you every day.”