Shreveport-based Quality Control inspector Gil Montoya and his wife Hope have moved around a lot. They’ve lived in big cities and small, but one thing is constant: there are always people in need, and there’s always a way to help.
“In aviation you move around. I’ve been to different places with ExpressJet all over the country. When we moved to Shreveport, my wife and I noticed there was a lot of homelessness here as there aren’t a lot of well-paying opportunities,” said Gil. “We felt like we needed to do something to give back to the community.”
The husband and wife team started small. They made a couple hundred sandwiches each weekend and handed them out downtown. Soon they began seeing lines of people, 80-100 at a time, waiting for a simple meal. They realized how much of a need there was and looked at ways they could help more.
“The first time we went out, I was a bit apprehensive. I’ve never done anything like this before. It opened me up; it changed me greatly. There’s always something to complain about, but I realize every day that I am blessed.”
In 2010, with the help of fellow SHV-based A&P Technician Charles Robin, they created their foundation, Streets of Charity, as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In the years since, Streets of Charity has expanded its services to collect and distribute diapers, jackets, shoes, clothing and other basic necessities in addition to providing meals.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone. I’ve seen a lot of smart people who are homeless because of accidents, life changes, etc. Many of the guys we help are veterans. They served our country and now they are on hard times. They’re good people and they are people, too. Just like you and me. I’m proud to help them.”
Gil has received a lot of support in this endeavor from his co-workers at our Shreveport Maintenance base. He’d like to thank all those who have supported Streets of Charity by volunteering or donating to the cause.
“You don’t need to have a lot of money to help. If you have love in your heart, you can do great things for others. Streets of Charity is not about giving money, it’s about sharing what we have. Share your time, your experience, your heart.”
Gil encourages everyone to participate in something, whether it’s donating to a local food bank, working for a cause you’re passionate about, volunteering your time to help others or starting your own non-profit. If you have questions, contact him through the Streets of Charity Facebook page. Gil and Hope are happy to answer questions about Streets of Charity or how you can be more involved in your community.
“Anybody can make a change in their community and in the world. We are lucky to have flight privileges which can help us make change globally. When my wife and I travel, we pack bags full of clothes and shoes to donate in our destination. It’s all about remembering people and appreciating all that you have.”
If you would like to support Streets of Charity, you can send donations, clothing or other goods to Streets of Charity, P.O. Box 18494, Shreveport, LA 71138.
“Working with Streets of Charity has helped me change my attitude. We tend to be selfish, thinking about our own problems. But when we listen to the stories of the people on really hard times, it reminds me to be grateful for all that we have. It’s a great feeling to know that I contribute, even in a small way, to better humanity. I challenge each of you to do something today to make a difference.”