THE BRONX- “Today we’re having white rice, veggies and salmon!" A fresh, hot meal made with love by Sobeyra Almonte and her family. “I actually really like doing this," Melissa, Sobeyra's 15-year-old daughter, smiled. "It’s really fun!” Three days a week they come together to prepare home cooked dishes, not to feed themselves but to help those in need. “I can actually look for someone that loves me and really does care," one of the homeless men said.
A feeling of being forgotten and stuck on the street this mother knows too well. “I didn’t have nothing,” Sobeyra Almonte remembered. "I had to fight to survive." Sobeyra grew up in the dominican republic before moving here when she was ten. She married young, at the age of 16, and had her first son. But after her husband died, she found herself in a violent relationship. “He found out I was pregnant," she described. "He wanted me to have an abortion, I refused so he put me out [on the street].”
She was homeless for two and a half months before getting into a women’s shelter. From there, she turned her life around. “I had two reasons now to change my life, [my sons]," Almonte said. "So, I got my GED and I had three jobs, seven days.” Then she met Sherman, a caseworker who immediately saw her goodness. “She likes to help people and that’s something you don’t really see in most people nowadays," Sherman Richmond said.
They fell in love 20 years ago and have two daughters, Melissa and Miranda, who enjoy giving back, just like their mom. “I like doing it because I like seeing how happy and thankful the homeless people are," Miranda, who is ten years old, smiled. Over the years, Sobeyra has also donated school supplies to kids in her home country through her foundation, which earned her an international award. "It feels good to be able to rely on someone," Angel, a homeless man who regularly receives meals, explained. “It doesn’t matter if it’s rain or snow or whatever they’re here." But, she says there’s nothing quite like connecting with the people in her community. “Some people say you should never look back," Sobeyra said. "I like to stop and turn around and look back and see where everything started and where I am [now], it’s amazing."
Right now, all of the food comes from her family, friends and neighborhood church but as more people hear about what she's doing, it's becoming increasingly difficult to feed everyone. If you're interested in helping, the family is raising money at https://www.gofundme.com/oncewashomelessnowhelpsothers
Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi