Gus Cantu, 28, and his girlfriend posted a message on Nextdoor.com, a social networking platform for neighbors, saying he was looking for a few people in need he and his girlfriend could help out.
“Every year, we’ve wanted to help out a family, and we realized this was the year to do it,” Cantu told Fox News. He and his girlfriend were able to keep their jobs during the pandemic, but Cantu said some of their friends and family members haven’t been so fortunate.
The response to his message was overwhelming — in the best way.
“Next thing I know, my phone just started blowing up,” he said. “I started getting private messages from families who needed a little help, such as food and … basic necessities.”
In total, Cantu and more than 25 other volunteers ended up helping 11 families.
Cantu and his girlfriend designated families by number and assigned different families to different volunteers. The two set up a group chat and told volunteers about each family and what they needed, such as food and toiletry donations, and volunteers took care of the rest.
One volunteer even offered to buy a twin mattress for a family who needed the bed for a child. Others who were inspired by the post created their own donation chains, he said, and some donated whole turkeys.
“Families were super appreciative,” Cantu said.
Once donations were taken care of, volunteers texted Cantu with updates saying they had met the families in need and dropped off donations, which he said was “the fun part” of the whole operation.
“We both just kind of grew up in families where if you have the opportunity to help, do it,” he said of himself and his girlfriend. The pair are hoping to do something similar around Christmastime.