Rev Pedro Martinez Leads HOPE in Miami Beach, Feeds Homeless

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Rev Pedro2.jpg
Rev Pedro Martinez Founder and President of H.O.P.E. in Miami Beach
Ever wondered why there aren't more social events for homeless people? You know, like places where they can congregate, have a good meal, get some dental care, a new i.d. card, an AIDS test, and just hang out as an invited guest?

Rev. Pedro A. Martinez, the founder and president of H.O.P.E. in Miami Beach, a non-profit, faith based organization aimed at reducing homelessness in Miami Beach, has worked toward that goal since 2002.

This Saturday, June 6th, Miami Beach Community Church hosts HOPE's June homeless event.

Short Order recently spoke to the Rev. about feeding the homeless. Here's what he had to say.
"We do breakfast to start and then later a full meal. For breakfast we serve coffee and pastries donated by Publix that are left over from day before. We get that from about 3 or 4 different Publix's.

For the big meal we have donations, like Cargill donated to us 425 pounds of beef, American Veterans donated 200 pounds of beef patties. We also serve rice, potato, salad, vegetables, cooked fresh each event. We do turkeys, like 15 turkeys that people take home, cook them, and then bring them to  the event

People who volunteer, they're given the turkey or the beef, and they cook it at home. They are people visist the website, find us through volunteermatch.com, or subscribe to our email newsletter.
 
The volunteers pass by the facility, pick up their package, and promise to bring it back one day before the event, then it's like a home cooked meal, we trust the people will cook it just like they cook for themselves. Our main cook will give them instructions, maybe they improvise the seasonings a little but it's a healthy home cooked meal.
 
We don't need a license from the city because we host the event in the Miami Beach Community Church, where we've done it for the past 7 years. The City of Miami Beach Neighborhoods Department, that's who deals with homeless issues, sends their staff and they're present there also.

Last event, well the last 6 events, we had an average of about 270 homeless show up.We've been doin this almost 7 years, we started December 2002, and we were incorporated as a non profit in 2003. We do 6 events a year, on a bimonthly basis.
 
Anybody is welcome, religious background or not. They don't have to do anything religious, it's a social event, sober or not, anybody is welcome. It's the way it is, they're welcome to sit down as an invited guest, and feel special because we're actually serving them.
 
Normally we have about 100 volunteers. The event goes 3 hours, from 7:30 am to 10:30 am. It's short, intense, very hands on. We definitely need a lot of people, there's clothing, hygiene, nutritional stations, nurses, doctors, id replacement, of course the food, we need volunteers to set up, serve, and clean up at the end
 
Melba Graffe, she's been our main cook from the day that we began. She runs the whole kitchen, decides the whole menu, makes sure that it's cooked, deals with the volunteers, she's hands on.
 
If you're not homeless and you're hungry, you're welcome, but if you're not we throw you out, literally, you wont be stealing from the homeless on my watch. I might be the reverend, but I'm not stupid. When it comes to defending the poor I'm hands on, I ain't gon allow that, we haven't had that problem in seven years,
 
Even the homeless police themselves if anybody gets out of hand because they realize we're there to serve them and there to help them."
 
The Homeless Event happens Saturday, June 6th
from 7:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Miami Beach Community Church
1620 Drexel Ave, Miami Beach 33139 (Lincoln Road and Drexel)
call 305-220-3467 for more info,
log on to hopeinmiamibeach.org
or email hopeinmiamibeach@aol.com

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