Grateful parishioner returns the favor

By Ekland Durousseau, American Red Cross Public Affairs


From right: Maria Cardenas with her two daughters Michelle, 11 and Yaritzel, 4 and best friend Jesenia Sanchez.

It’s close to 6 o’clock and the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) feeding team is about to hand out the last meal of the day at Iglesias Pentecostal Vino Nuevo, a church along their feeding route. A car pulls up and like so many before them, a family of four get out and walk toward the ERV but this time instead of taking food they are giving.

Marcial Sanchez, pastor of Iglesias Pentecostal Vino Nuevo, sent word to his parishioners that if anyone was still in need their church was on a Red Cross feeding truck route and hot meals would be provided. Maria Cardenas got the message but had no need for the service. Her home sustained no water damage and the power had been restored to her neighborhood. She was grateful the Red Cross was helping her community and thought she could contribute in a similar way by cooking one big meal a couple of times a week and bringing it to the church as a supplemental feeding. This night however, her dishes were a little heavier. She asked the ERV team if they would walk to her car because she wanted to show them something.

Opening the trunk of her car, Maria uncovered an enormous container, releasing a cloud of aromatic steam that filled the air with a roasted corn aroma. Stuffed within the pot lay large homemade tamales.  When the oohs and ahhs died down Maria smiled and said “Because you shared with us I want to share with you. Thank you for helping my community.”


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