By: Nick Eismann
Tito Rodriguez, also known as the Hood Santa hit the streets just days after his Diamonds and Turkey giveaway to donate more canned goods to the community. In partnership with Martin Luzanilla, Owner and Head Chef of Mexihana’s Hibachi Grill, the duo who’s friendship goes back 20 years, were able to give 50 bags filled with dried and canned goods to those who were in need before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“People were still asking if we had leftover foods, we found out that there was still a need in the community.” Rodriguez said. “I’m just trying to make sure that everyone is taken care of.”
Rodriguez revealed that growing up, his family didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. “I didn’t have Thanksgiving, I didn’t know what it was.” He told volunteers, “One year I went home and saw all this food, I was like ‘Woah! What’s all this?’ It was amazing” Ever since then, he’s been giving back what he can to make sure every family is secure during the holiday season.
“I know it sounds weird but I’m somewhat successful in the music industry,” Rodriguez said. “It’s allowed me to meet a lot of awesome people and has given me the chance to give back to the community.”
The Hood Santa along with Mexihana Hibachi Grill were able to collect supplies and organize this giveaway in under 24 hours. “It’s crazy how much you can do when people are working together. God provides.” Rodriguez said.
Volunteers flagged down people passing by and offered them food, often giving generous portions to those who asked. “How many people are in your family?” Rodriguez would ask, before handing them bags packed with canned goods, flour and other goodies.
“I’ve seen a lot of happy faces leave here today.” One volunteer noted, many in the community were thankful for the generosity of those who donated their time and money to give back. “It’s my job to give back,” Rodriguez said, “We gotta take care of the hood year round.”
The distribution took place of the new location of the rising Mexihana’s Hibachi Grill. Luzanilla had also donated 50 turkeys to Rodriguez’s Local Hearts Foundation turkey distribution.
The Hood Santa is still looking for donations for his annual Christmas Toy Drive which will take place on December 19th. He hopes to raise $50,000 in toys to give back to the community.