A Presentation by Capone Velez
Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman. My name is Capone Velez and I am very thankful that you have taken the time out of your busy schedules to support my fundraiser. To me is more than a fundraiser; it is something I hold dearly.
This fundraiser will help today’s children to have what I never had. I had a rough life growing up. My biological mom was addicted to heroin and my dad was in jail most of the time. With four sisters and incapable parents, I was left with the burden of being the man of the family at a young age. I was my family’s caregiver throughout my whole childhood. Every day, I scrounged for food for my sisters and I. At night I dealt with what we were going to wear to school the next day or worried that my mom was not going to pay the bills. I was one of the lucky ones in these situations
I was lucky because God answered my prayers and provided for me. I was so blessed to have a great mom and dad (Amon and Levenia) who took me into their house and gave me the support I was missing.
I'm blessed that my mom had a great heart, and she is doing this to provide a shelter for a child in need. When she took me into her house, she did not judge a troubled kid like me by what was written on the papers
Unfortunately, there are more kids out there who are not as lucky as me. They are judged, and they end up in the street doing crazy things. Every kid is a blessing, they can be somebody and can go somewhere in life. I am blessed to have a dad who treats me like a son and who gives me the advice I needed to actually be a man. He teaches me things my biological dad did not. I will be the first person to graduate high school and pursue college to become a social worker because of these opportunities.
An opportunity like the one I was given is what we are missing in our communities! We are missing the love and compassion that my parents have toward strangers. Young kids turn to gangs, drugs, and even suicide because of lake of love. Truthfully, a lot of people here would’ve looked at me and saw just another kid from the ghetto throwing his life away.
I am here tonight to tell you that these kids out in the streets are more than that, and they also want to be children too. They want to be able to live a normal life, but they are not allowed by what’s going on in the society. They always feel like they're the ones to take care of their families, and they end up doing things which will lead them up to drugs or gangs.
Since I have been volunteering at Dwelling House of Hope food pantry, I have seen some kids in a very sad situations: starving and so skinny and just wanting a little food so that they can eat. Meanwhile, some of us are at home throwing away food because we are too full. That’s why this fundraiser is so important. The funds raised will go to all those kids starving. They will stop that kid to join the gang or selling drugs to get money to buy food.
Everyone is here for a reason that I really don't know but God does. God wanted you to hear this; maybe because you can give a little bit more than others can or maybe because he knows that one of you in the audience tonight will make a difference in a kid’s life. Please, don't let any more kids in our communities go through what I went through.
Let’s shine some light on these struggling kids and give them some hope. And with this hope maybe even a sense of happiness. Thank you, all, for coming tonight
Capone, Foster Child
Testimonials from people we have served
Hello Ms. Furusa,
This Letter comes to express my thanks and appreciation to Dwelling House of Hope Food pantry and the volunteers for helping our community. It is not easy trying to make ends meet as a single parent. As a recipient, your generosity has eased my burden and anxiety about providing food for my family of four. I am very grateful for your kindness and sacrifice. It is people like you who make life more bearable for the less fortunate.
God bless you and your volunteers.
“I was left widowed with 3 young children following the death of my husband in the 9/11 terrorist attack. After that time, I struggled with depression and alcoholism, and life was really tough.
However, one day a friend of mine took me to Dwelling House of Hope. Prior to going to the food pantry, I thought I was only going to be given food. But to my surprise,
I was given much more than food. The staff and volunteers at Dwelling House of Hope, welcomed me with love and compassion, and also enrolled me in the CPR and First Aid training classes.
Today, I have a full time job that caters to the needs of my family, more energy and hope for a better future. Dwelling House of Hope has brought out the best in me, and I look forward to volunteering at the pantry every Saturday to help other families”.
“My name is Charlie, and I'm Thirty seven years old. Life has never been easy. I didn't know they were still good people out there. Most people when they see you have no clue about your life; they quickly like to judge instead of trying to help you. I used to be in the streets of Lowell, mainly in downtown and spend my nights under the bridge. I used to beg for money during the day and used it to buy drugs and alcohol and share with some friends.
This has been my life for a very long time. I wished every day that I was dead.
I had no hope to live, until I met a lady from Men and Women of Vision Empowering Nations. She didn't care that I smelled and that I was dirty. She took me to a place called New Challenge where I got some help. After a few months, I was able to get a job and a place of my own to live.
You people from Men and Women of Vision Empowering Nations are very different and I know of other people you have helped that their lives have turned around for good. I thank God every day for you, because I know that without your efforts in getting me the help I needed, I may not have been here today”.
"I came to this country as a refugee. I could not speak good English and I found it very difficult to adapt to the different food culture in this country. I also didn’t have enough money to provide for my family of seven as I was unemployed at the time.
One day a neighbor took me to Dwelling House Of Hope Food Pantry. We had the opportunity of meeting with the founder Ms. Furusa who served us with dignity and love. I wasn’t familiar with some of the food items that were given to me, and I did not know how to prepare them for my family. For example, I did not know how to prepare tuna sandwich. However, the staff at the pantry invited me to their cooking classes. I got to learn how to prepare some of the food items which they had been giving me. Because of my experience, I also introduced some other refugees with a similar experience as mine to Dwelling House of Hope Food Pantry.
We thank the staff at Dwelling House Of Hope for their kindness and love towards people in need. They did not only provide us with nutritious food and taught us how to prepare some of them; they also made us feel welcome and accepted in a new environment”.
"I am a mother with five children. My husband is in prison and it has been very difficult for more to provide food for my children. I work as a CAN. Most of the time I pick up extra hours in order to provide food for five my children.
Most of the time when I get home I will be too tired to spend time with my children, I just take a shower and sleep. I having been visiting food pantries but the food which they pack in boxes for me and my children we hardly use most of it.
One day a friend introduce me to Dwelling house of Hope Pantry. When I walked in there I was surprised to see the love and service I received in there. There gave me the opportunity to pick up the food which I knew my family would put into use.
Since then I have been visiting Dwelling House Of Hope Food Pantry (Helping Hands). I don’t pick extra shift anymore I work my normal shift and I have time to spend with my five children."
I do Thank Dwelling House Of Hope Pantry for the Great work they do in the community, and I really enjoy volunteering at DHH.