Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Parent to Parent: Angel Backpacks
We all hear about the spirit of giving during the holiday season, but for one mother and her family, that spirit has turned into a calling that takes them to the streets of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Lynn Martinez has more in tonight's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- Maribel Arellano is kind of a guardian angel with help from her family, the city of Miami Fire Department and a small Army of volunteers, she delivers Angel Backpacks to the homeless, a sort of street survival kit for those in need.
Maribel Arellano: "I saw the lines at the shelters getting longer and longer. A lot of homeless. A lot of women now standing in the lines. So we started it as a weekend project for which we were going to provide 50 backpacks."
Six months later, 50 backpacks have grown to 1000. There are packs for adults and kids and the check list includes all kinds of donated toiletries, washcloths and even blankets.
Today the Angels swooped in on Downtown Miami.
Michael: "It's a blessing because right now every little bit helps. Work is tough. I work two part time jobs. It's hard to get by."
The backpacks are full of the kinds of things that many take for granted. They are also a sign of hope.
Wendy: "There's no jobs and I'm unemployed and sometimes even these things are hard to get. Can't afford them so it means a lot."
Giving also means a lot to the volunteers, especially maribel's kids.
Leslie: "To volunteer together with your family and being able to see everyone's face and how amazing everyone feels after and you're bringing joy to other families and other people that don't have anything."
Joshua: "Just seeing less fortunate people that me it makes me appreciate what I have a lot, more than what I used to, and it's really a good feeling."
There's been such response to their project, Angel Backpack is now an official non-profit organization with no plans to stop.
Maribel Arellano: "We've had people of all races, all faiths, children of all ages and lot of teenagers. It's just been amazing watching everybody come together."
They say you never know when you're going to meet an angel, and on the streets of South Florida that's more true that ever.
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