Por Jesika Millano P.
Para Al Día Today
The coronavirus pandemic led to the emergence of several other problems of an economic, social, and personal nature, which have affected many Americans and migrant workers.
Faced with this reality, Operation Hope, together with its volunteers, undertook a noble initiative: to collect non-perishable food and other donated products from private companies, churches, food banks, stores, and public institutions to feed hundreds of families in the midst of this pandemic.
“Ever since the beginning of April, we distribute produce to an average of 1,200 people each Saturday with the help of our army of volunteers. Food has arrived in huge quantities thanks to the generosity of our corporate partners and we are very grateful for it,” said Jesse Zermeño, who along with his wife Jann Zermeño, founded Operation Hope.
Jesse Zermeño shared that, amid unemployment and the health crisis that overwhelms hundreds of families, Operation Hope’s humanitarian work has provided immediate relief to low-income families.
“People are stressed and nervous and don’t know what to do. I have never seen or experienced a situation such as this before in my life. The least we can do is reach out to those in need, especially older adults who are the most affected by this situation,” Zermeno said.
Operation Hope has served the community for more than 20 years. The organization typically helps over 14,000 people each year through its different education and assistance programs. In the midst of the pandemic, far more aid has come and has allowed the organization to reach even more needy families than they normally do.
The scope of Operation Hope is not limited to material aid in the midst of this crisis. Through its social networks, the organization transmits messages of hope to the community in the form of videos.
“Specialists, doctors, and entrepreneurs offer words of encouragement and support because we are determined to make life easier for these families throughout this pandemic, beyond just supplying material resources,” Zermeño said.
Despite the uncertainty, low finances, separated families, and endless other difficulties, solidarity and provision make Operation Hope an “angel in the middle of the storm”. These are the two faces of the coronavirus.
The organization was created in 1997 as a result of the difficult reality of hundreds of Hispanic immigrants living in overcrowded conditions and working in agriculture in Fellsmere.
Each year, Operation Hope, located at 12285 Co Rd 512, Fellsmere, FL 32948, leads five important events for families and promotes values such as solidarity. These activities are celebrated on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Back to school time, in which more than 700 children benefit from basic materials such as backpacks, notebooks, pencils, glue, among others.
For more information, contact Operation Hope at (772) 571-0003.