Feeding the Hungry
Jorge Munoz is a man who has made it his mission to help the less fortunate by putting his money where their mouths are. Mostly financed by his modest salary as a school bus driver, Munoz buys food, helps cook it and personally delivers it—every day! For the last five years, he has devoted a huge chunk of his time and money, providing daily free meals to the hungry in Queens, a borough of New York City. Rain or shine, hot or cold, weekday or weekend, Munoz dishes out chicken, rice, hot chocolate, and coffee to the poor from the back of his truck parked under an elevated subway stop.
Munoz, 45, is nominated as one of Beliefnet's Most Inspiring Persons of the Year for his selflessness in using his own resources to look after the less fortunate.
"I think God has given me this to do," Munoz told Beliefnet. "Everyday, when I get up, I pray to God and say thanks a lot because I have a bed, hot coffee, something to wear. These guys, they do not have that. Most of them, they are by themselves."
Munoz remembers what it was to be like "these guys" – illegal, underemployed, and confounded by a new country. He was born in Colombia and came to New York after his mother, a widow, found work there. He became a citizen in 1987, and in 2004 he began handing out brown bag meals to day laborers, most of them undocumented.
His mother, Blanca, prepares the food while Munoz or his sister, Luz, serves it. Recently, they were joined by his five-year-old nephew, Justin. Organized as a nonprofit, An Angel in Queens, they serve as many as 140 meals a night made from food purchased with Jorge's salary and food donations from small groceries and bakeries.
Munoz says that anyone can help others in their own neighborhoods by not throwing away extra food. "Put it on a plate and bring it to somebody on the corner," he said. "Get them a cup of coffee. When you see their faces, when they smile, you're going to see a difference. You do a great thing for them."