Feeding Hope: Montoya Family

Feeding Minds-Enriching Lives has been fortunate in forging and supporting a trusting relationship with our most vulnerable clients, many of which we consider personal friends and teachers. This year, we wish to relate a story regarding a family very dear to us, the “Montoya” family, who originated in Central America. This family consists of five minor children, ages 3, 5,9,13 and 17. The mother and father are in their 40’s and the family originates from El Salvador. What is most striking about this family is their love and quiet dignity and I would like to share a brief insight into their world.

When I initially met Mrs. Montoya, I thought she was 65 or older, likewise, I thought the same of her husband. I asked myself how this grandmother could care for so many little children and where was the mother? Looking back, I am a little embarrassed of my own middle-class cultural assumption. What I saw entrenched in their faces was not just fatigue from long miles trudging and toiling as farmers, or self-exile across thousands of miles to “El Otro Lado”. In fact, the imprint of endurance was present, but superimposed was joviality, warmth and compassion for others.

Her family is one of ‘duende’, both parents and children see the world as a magical place full of enchantment and opportunity. The reality of their daily existence consists of a small one bedroom, 500 sq. ft. apartment overlooking an asphalt and concrete reality. An alternative world, which does not preclude exposure to drugs, prostitution and murder within shouting distance of the front door; sometimes, as this last Summer demonstrated, literally inside the front door. Yet, each day, this family loves, hugs, kisses and giggles and dreams of tomorrow.

I cannot tell valued donor show I feel or present to you a tremendously deep insight into the human condition except to tell you this; I understand their love for one another. I understand how they see the world and how wonder flows off of them in infectious waves of laughter and bright eyes. I love this family, these people, who flee from the system, fearful of authorities. This family, these children who share your community, would literallystarve without a food pantry, without your funding. Still, they push their children out into the sunshine, hoping tomorrow will bring their dreams. I see these two ‘grandpa’ parents, prematurely gray and stooping, close to my own age and I appreciate their dignity and the honor they teach us every day in their humble actions. I wish to protect these people and I know I will never be able to articulate my tender feelings for them in any language. Yet, your funds allow me to pursue my need to love others so that they may focus on loving each other.

Kind Regards,
Dr. Richard Archer

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