Despite COVID-19 making everyday life challenging, stressful, and confusing, junior Ricky Martin has learned to make the most of the scary times by preparing bags full of meals and essential supplies to donate to the Opportunity Services Center (OSC) in Palo Alto. The OSC is a service center that provides meals, housing, showers, washers and other resources to help homeless people in the area.
As a child, Martin would drive up to the San Francisco Zen Center with his family to make lunches for the homeless in the Tenderloin. After returning from the Tenderloin, he would then bring back extra lunches and hand them out to homeless people at the Menlo Park train station, the Opportunity Services Center, Menlo Park City Hall, and the Palo Alto transit center.
According to Martin, when he was younger, he “was always too shy to actually hand out the lunches so [he] just helped make them. However, those experiences taught [him] the impact of helping the homeless community, which helped fuel [him] to continue to work with this community now.”
More recently, Martin has been working at the OSC for a little over a year serving meals and offering technology help. He describes his experience so far as both “fulfilling and impactful” and loves “the rewarding feeling of knowing I can impact people’s life in a positive way.” When quarantine started, he “wanted to continue [his] service there somehow so [he] decided to help by donating meals and supplies.” Every Tuesday night, Martin, alongside his brother Finn and house guest Charlie, put 60-70 sandwiches along with fruit, bars, cookies, and brownies into a paper bag which he would drop off with other supplies to the OSC.
While this is a hard time for everyone, it is especially hurting the homeless population who are in need of meals, shelter, and other supplies. Martin is doing a great service for the community and proving that there are always ways to help out, even in the current crazy circumstances.