ORLANDO, Fla. – Over the last 7 months, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have had to depend on food banks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, provides food to more than 550 food banks across Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties. Behind the operation is a group of dedicated workers and volunteers doing their part to feed the hungry.
Among that team, is Carlos Santamaría and Ricardo Robledo. Both have experienced first-hand the struggles their families endured to put food on the table.
“I was kind of raised in a poor family per se. So I know what it’s all about. I know it’s being limited to a meal,” Santamaría, a native of Nicaragua said.
He recalled growing up during the Nicaraguan revolution and witnessing the chaos his country went through during the 1970s.
“I was 7 years old when the war started, and it was just tremendous. It was very dramatic ...bodies on the streets, burning bodies in the corners,” he said.
At the time, it was mandatory in Nicaragua, for boys to enlist in the military at 12 years old. When Carlos reached that age, his mother was able to get him out of the Central American and take him to live with her in Miami.
In 1992, he decided to join a local food bank. Today, 28 years after starting his journey to help others, he’s the Director of Operations for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.