Shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16 Elaine and Marty Martinez pull into the Community Center parking lot in a converted minibus dubbed ‘the beast,’ as a Branson sized crowd of seven awaited to unload food.
“We started giving away gallon bags of hygiene and snacks to hitchhikers eight years ago,” said Elaine. “Two years ago, we were giving away gallon bags, now we have the small van and ‘the beast.’
“In March when all of this [COVID-19] was hitting, we had put out notice to our people, we are down to beans and rice and we were going to have to shut down. The very afternoon I put that out, people started putting food donations on our porch and it has been like that ever since.”
The non-profit organization is run out of the Martinez’ garage, which has been converted into a pantry lined with shelves.
“We have four freezers and five refrigerators in our garage,” said Elaine.
Somebody Cares operates on food and monetary donations from the greater Las Animas County area and pulls inventory from the Compassion Food Project based in Pueblo.
For many rural towns in Las Animas County, Trinidad is their local access for food. The Somebody Cares project has stretched its arms to towns like Model, Thatcher and Branson — areas that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said are in food droughts.
“We love the hearts of gold that Elaine and Marty have. To come all the way out to Branson and the rural areas — we are just so appreciative,” said Kendra Doherty a resident of Trinchera.
Doherty said, “It is 100 miles to town and back. So, it is not easy for some people to get there, especially our elderly, even some with families. So, this is just a wonderful service they are able to do for our community.”
The project does not go to Branson on the same day each month, so call for time and place if needed. For more information on how to contact or how to help the Someboday Cares project call Elaine Martinez at 719-846-2075 or see the Facebook page at Somebody Cares Project.