During Hispanic Heritage Month, two Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida team members shared their stories of why food bank work is so important to them personally with local media outlets. Carlos Santamaria and Ricardo Robledo have more than four decades of food bank experience between them and are the dynamic duo leading Second Harvest’s operations team to distribute more food to more people during the pandemic.
Here is one behind the scenes story from WKMG Channel 6.
Born in Nicaragua, Carlos immigrated to the US with his mother after the war broke out. He began his career in food banking with Feeding South Florida in Miami two weeks before Hurricane Andrew devastated the Homestead community. Today, Carlos is the director of operations and oversees food safety, employee safety, facility and fleet maintenance, and warehouse inventory in Orlando as well as at branch warehouse locations in Volusia and Brevard. Carlos says, “My mom always taught me to help others. Working at Second Harvest has pushed me to do more for the community, whether it is the daily disaster of hunger, after a hurricane or now, during the pandemic.”
Ricardo is from Puerto Rico and grew up in the Bronx. He comes from a hard working family and credits his dad for teaching him the principles of a strong work ethic, responsibility and humility. Ricardo joined Second Harvest as a truck driver in 1994 and attributes his “can do” attitude to helping him succeed within the organization. As the warehouse manager, he oversees the finer details of scheduling donation pickups, deliveries and mobile food pantries and works closely with volunteer leads on projects to be completed.
The El Sentinel also spent time with Carlos and Ricardo to share their story with the Spanish speaking community. A cover story ran on October 3 and was later translated into English for the digital version of The Orlando Sentinel.
Carlos and Ricardo have a tremendous impact on what happens at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and how that travels out into the six-county area. They are organized, efficient and communicate regularly with feeding partners and community leaders to ensure that food is handled safely, distributed equitably and is ethnically appropriate, diverse, and healthy.
Thank you, Carlos and Ricardo, for all you do to fight hunger and feed hope.