Feeding the Hopes of Others

Jorge Muñoz was born in Columbia to a family of limited means. He learned to share food and resources with his family and others. As a teenager, Jorge experienced a personal tragedy when his father was killed in an accident. Jorge’s mother moved the family to New York City.

Jorge, his mother and sister became citizens and this allowed Jorge to get a job as a bus driver, making $700/week. After working for two decades, Jorge’s life changed when he started to chat with men who were huddled under the elevated train tracks. They were day workers hoping someone would hire them that day. Most were unemployed. Often they wouldn’t have had anything to eat for days.

Jorge decided to do something, so he packed eight bag lunches that he gave to the workers he met with. When Jorge noticed a local food factory throwing away food, he got permission to use the food that would have gone to waste.

Jorge enlisted his mother and sister to help and they started preparing hot meals. To supplement the food provided by the factory, Jorge spent half of his $700 paycheck on additional food supplies.

Jorge created a non-profit called An Angel in Queens with the hope that others would help with funds for food. Jorge and his family serve meals at seven locations every night of the week. They have served over 100,000 meals.

Jorge was recognized as one of the CNN Heroes in 2009 and in 2010 President Obama presented him with the Presidential Citizens Medal.

When Jorge’s mother moved her family to America, she was fueled by hope. That hope was realized, and the family began to share their meager resources with others. Over time, those who were provided with meals by the Muñoz family saw their hopes realized when they found jobs and were able to feed themselves. Hope is a gift that keeps on giving.

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“What unites these citizens – what makes them special – is the determination they share to find a wrong and right it; to see a need and meet it; to recognize when others are suffering and take it upon themselves to make a difference.” – President Obama (When talking about Jorge and other community heroes.)

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