By Victoria Cepeda
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Many of us will look for volunteer opportunities to help out around our areas as a sign of gratitude for having far more than thousands in the nation lack. The concept of volunteering varies from individual to individual with some donating their time and others their money. Then there are groups of individuals that exceed the norm when it comes to volunteering in their communities. I refer to folks with an innate inclination to help others. Everyday unsung heroes that selflessly look out for the well being of their fellow man/woman.
Recently we came to know a particular and exemplary organization that provides and delivers food, clothes and school supplies to several people in the NYC area. This particular brigade is called LatinosNYC and is headed by its Founder Raul K. Rios.
It is Saturday, November 27th at Tompkins park in the East Village . As it is customary every Saturday, Friends in Need along with Raul and other volunteers meet at the park after purchasing meals at the McDonald’s located a block away. They bought enough to feed up to 200 folks that by 11 am have lined up ready to receive their serving. This great example of caring and benevolence is the norm for LatinosNYC’s Raul Rios who has volunteered for Friends In Need over three years every Saturday come rain or shine. Intrigued as to find out more about LatinosNYC and their committment to make a difference, I prepared a set of questions for Mr. Rios .
1. What motivated you to form LatinosNYC?
The formation of LatinosNYC came when Raul K. Rios used to run Despierta Boricua but eyes were not meeting so the formation of LatinosNYC came to light.
2. What is the mission of LatinosNYC?
To spread the word, together we grow and help those who are less fortunate. The collecting of slightly used clothes and books and any other materials that might enable a person or family to live better. Raul is happy to have found a group of like-minded volunteers at Friends In Need in the New York City area.
3. How many people are fed?
On a weekly basis Friends in Need feeds 230 people.
4. Where do most donations for Latin0sNYC come from?
LatinosNYC receives donations from private people on Facebook and also Best Buy.
5. Is LatinosNYC a non-for-profit?
No, but we have a tax ID#.
6. Where do most of your volunteers come from?
Most volunteers come from word of mouth, poets and writers that know me.
7. Where can folks log in to make donations or learn more about LatinosNYC?
To donate to LatinosNYC please send checks to P.O. Box 20468 NY, NY 10009. Raul would like for our readers to know that the money sent to LatinosNYC is used either to feed the homeless or purchase clothes, books and other basic items as toiletries and the like.Also, donations go towards Inpendent Living a program in Brooklyn headed by its Director Maria M.Torres. This program caters to un-wed teenage mothers.
Brief Bio on Raul K. Rios
Mr. Raul K. Rios is besides being a well respected figure in the community hails from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He is a Poet, Mentor, Substance Abuse/ HIV Counselor as well as the Founder of LatinosNYC.
He is actively involved in his community and has produced a number of Poetry shows throughout New York City, many being held at the Famous Nuyorican Poet’s Café, the Mecca of urban poetry. In addition Raul has performed, as a feature or Open Mic, at Books in the Hood, Salsa Caterer’s, at the Tato Laviera tribute held at the prestigious New York University, The 5 C Club, El Taller (Julio De Burgos) as well as Cemi Underground .
His personal mission is to make sure that the future of people, regardless of gender, culture or race are secure and that they never go without a meal, clothing or a place to lay their head. Through the love and compassion that his dream be shared through the generosity of his contributors who hope to effect positive change in the lives of many through events he has single-handily organized. Through his organization, LatinosNYC’s, he seeks to help all who are in need and does his best to make sure that all of our children and their families are secure through education, presentations and donations. Furthermore, he hopes that through the events he organizes positive change through action, education and the arts becomes a reality.
Raul K. Rios admits being in the past the biggest homophobic in America. While living as an adolescent with lesbians in Philadelphia, PA and being in the community as a friend his eyes were opened to the life style. At this present moment Mr. Rios has children who are gay and accepts them as the same as his heterosexual children. He treats all his children the same regardless of their lifestyles or sexual orientation. To that effect he holds, under LatinosNYC, about 2 to 3 LGBT events throughout the year in hopes he can help bridge the gap and help promote tolerance.
Finally, Mr. Rios is also an advertising member of IKON’S Magazine and is the recipient of humanitarian award for the work he does in his community. For more info on LatinosNYC, please contact Mr. Raul directly at 917 331 7703.
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