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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 4 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 4

An everlasting kindness

BY FRANK GONZALES

The Joseph B. Hernandez Memorial Food Drive, also known as the Keeping the Memory Alive Food Drive, recently completed its fifth year of work to help feed and clothe locals in need.

Robyn Velasquez, niece of the food drive’s founder and one of its organizers, said, “[The food drive] collected this year 4,680 pounds [of food].”

Patterson Road School alone collected 1,055 pounds for the drive. The cash donation total was $4,100, which was converted into gift cards to various stores, such as Payless, Wal-Mart, Foods Co., and Food Maxx.

The beginnings of the drive were rooted in tragedy. Food drive founder Sally Bolocot’s son, Joseph, passed away in March 2006.

Velasquez explained, “We knew that [Joseph] was always a very loving, caring person. He was working at one point over at Burger King as a general manager. When he passed, these homeless people were coming to the mortuary. We didn’t know what was going on. So somebody had said, you know, he used to give me food and he used to let me stay in from the cold. And it really touched my aunt’s heart because she knew that he was a good boy, but you hear something like that and you don’t know what’s going on, you know it’s even more touching.”

Not wanting to let her son’s kind acts be forgotten, Bolocot decided to take action. With the help of friends and family, she launched the food drive. The organization is currently in the process of becoming a nonprofit. Bolocot has already received an Employee Identification Number, which allows donors to write off their donations.

To kick off the event this year, the organization put on a dance about seven weeks ago that was very successful. At the end of the event, they held a barbecue for which Pepsi and Coca-Cola donated drinks.

“When we have the barbecue we don’t ask for any kind of payment—it’s strictly donation. There is no set amount; you bring food, you put money in the donation box if you like, and the barbecue is there, we have kid games, there’s prizes for the kids [and] a raffle,” Velasquez said, estimating there were between 150 and 200 attendees.

As for the donations themselves, the organization tries to spread the wealth each year.

In the past, it’s donated to Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army. Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Joseph’s friends and family, his good deeds are not only remembered, but continue to multiply.

Intern Frank Gonzales compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at intern@santamariasun.com.