An early December morning in Southern California and John Alvarez’s phone buzzes as a text came in from Ferny Coipel in Miami. Ferny, one of our 25-Board members, had a simple question for the volunteer President of Manos: John, does Manos need a Christmas Tree?
From that one text, and for the remainder of the day, the lines of cross-country communication were all thumbs, with text messages and smart phone emails shooting back and forth to what was soon a gathering of Manos Volunteers via cell-phone towers and satellites in space. From Los Angeles, John was able to quickly shoot a message out to volunteers and Board members in Miami . “Ozzie Martinez received my 1st text,” John recalls, “and we discussed some ideas on what we could do. I then received responses back from all board members in Miami with the same answer ‘We'll get on it!’” The start of something truly special was happening: volunteers were somehow, someway, going to make this happen!
Ferny had originally been contacted by the local Fire Department who had a tree to donate and trusted that Ferny, through his volunteerism with Manos Internacional, would find a home for it. The Christmas tree had to be picked up by 2:00PM the following day, so the clock was ticking.
Board member Jodie Jove contacted colleagues from a school where two other Board members currently teach, Jenel Romero and Shelly St. Remy. After a few more texting-rounds, Jodie was told about a single mom and her children living in poverty, for whom, with all the hardships they had been enduring , the Christmas spirit our volunteers could help bring would truly be welcomed and needed.
Next round of texting and emails found John in California back at blasting a message out now trying to find volunteers in Miami who could pick up and deliver the tree to this family in need, as their only mode of transportation was the public bus system. Responses poured in and almost immediately Board member Maritza Bautista volunteered to pick up and deliver the tree! With communication lines beaming with details and directions, from Ferny to the Fire Department, back to John, then to Maritza…
...then to Jodie, and then to the school contact, and from there all the way back to John…this simple question turned into a beautiful mission to help a family. The hearts of our volunteers, who in confidence know this family’s story, hope that this Christmas Tree will also bring some healing to every member of this beautiful family!
This Holiday Season, thanks to Manos Volunteers, something truly special happened. “This is Manos Magic,” John wrote, “this very teamwork has guided our organization since its existence. It’s about the ideas we share, the questions, concerns, and the caring... This is Manos, You are Manos.”
We are Volunteers.