Elaine Martinez, local founder of the Somebody Cares Project, was acknowledged this past June as a “Brawny Hero Giant” after being nominated as a “Brawny Giant.”
A recent email received by Martinez from Brawny representatives and Joan Creative stated they would be using photos, video and other media to publicize The Brawny Giants Initiative as well as Martinez’ project.
We are currently working with a brand that wants to help individuals who are stepping up and taking action in their communities during the current pandemic,” said the email to Martinez from Joan Creative. “We were very inspired by your story. It’s the perfect example of someone doing good in the world and supporting those in need.”
The campaign, called Giants Take Action, will run on TV and social media to promote the brands’ funding program The Brawny Giants Initiative, which was set up to support those doing the most to assist their neighborhoods in these unprecedented times.
The Somebody Cares Project in Las Animas County is a small non-profit group here in Trinidad that has gone from giving out a gallon bag of food and hygiene items to homeless, truckers and the needy to mini short term food pantries in Starkville and Cokedale,” said the press release.
The program also has two mobile food pantries they are hoping to launch this month and Martinez said they would be covering hard hit areas throughout Las Animas County, making access to food and hygiene items easier for those in need or in remote places.
While not yet in operation, Martinez said dates, locations and times would be posted in the Chronicle-News fine print as well as on the project’s Facebook page.
The Somebody Cares Project motto is, “What’s your name and what do you need?” said Martinez. She also added that if a certain food or hygiene item is not available, an effort will be made to get it for a client in need.
To help keep everyone safe, volunteer drivers for the program pick up donations and deliver the food to homes for those with no transportation. Elaine Martinez said she operates fairly remotely from home making calls and connections and keeping the program running.
Since the shut-down brought about by COVID-19, Martinez said she has operated the office while her husband, Marty Martinez, runs the pantry, currently operating out of their garage, and makes food boxes. Between both of them, Elaine Martinez said they have managed to keep up with the many requests for food and keep their health.
“Safety is at the top of their list,” said Martinez, “It has only been since the shut down has opened up that one or two volunteers were allowed back in the pantry to help.”
Even then, distance is kept as much as possible between those packing boxes and delivering.
“Keeping our volunteers safe is important to us,” Martinez said.
She also explained that her husband has braved the risks to drive to other big cities in order to purchase food needed to make up the food boxes every weekend. Marty Martinez shops for food items like eggs, milk, cheese, fresh vegetables and fruit along with non-perishables.
“Marty is the real hero in all this,” said Elaine Martinez. “Without my husband, Marty, and the many volunteers, I could not have done this project,”
Martinez explained when Brawny first called her regarding the award, she thought it was a bit of a joke.
“At first I thought, you’re kidding,” said Martinez, “I didn’t even know this was something Brawny did. But then I received a call from one of the people who nominated me and I have to say I am truly honored and humbled by it.”
Before the shutdown caused by COVID-19 and health concerns, Elaine and Marty’s goal was to get a location for the food pantry in the Trinidad area. However, since the pandemic, there has been a change of plans and thinking outside the box, the two decided on the mobile units.
Even still, Martinez said they are in need of a location as they have been growing as the needs have risen in Las Animas County since the onset of the virus. Operating out of their garage, she said they currently had three freezers and five fridges going to keep perishable foods.
“We’re still hoping we can get a location,” said Martinez, “but we’ll do whatever we have to do to keep helping people who need it.”
For more information about the project or to donate resources, funds, or time, contact Elaine Martinez at 719-846-2075, Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Marty Martinez at 720-891-1849. They also have a Facebook page, @SomebodyCaresProject and have a website in the works.