Those memories have stayed with Gomez for the past forty years as she grew to lead The Floating Hospital’s transportation services. Today, Gomez’s job includes making sure that patient families, most of whom live in family homeless shelters, domestic violence safe houses, or other temporary housing, access family medical care at The Floating Hospital. But her wish to do more went well beyond this role; before Thanksgiving, Gomez gave $1000 to ensure 50 families would have healthy, delicious meals over the holidays.
“She wanted us to go and help pick out healthy foods,” shared Miller when describing the evolution of Gomez’s gift. What was a plan to feed ten families evolved into much more; staff transformed a storage room into a mini pantry, where rows and rows of food were collected in preparation for the holiday giveaways. “We went with a big food drive to give out meals to as many families as we can,” she added, referencing the food purchased with her donation.
In speaking with Gomez, it’s evident how much being able to give back meant to her this year. “Now that I’m in the position to do something, I wanted to do something to give back,” she said, remembering a conversation she had had with one of her dispatchers during which they’d watched families walk out, knowing her gift had made an impact. Gomez hopes that her gift will inspire others throughout the community to give back what they can. “It makes you feel terrific, and it’s a nice start to the holidays to know that someone else is eating because of you. I wish everybody could give a little bit of themselves; it goes so far. Even a gift of $50 can feed a family of four. If we have something to give, it makes life even a teeny bit better.”
Countless Floating Hospital staff members have drawn inspiration from Gomez’s gift, with students in the health education classroom presenting a transportation-themed thank you card. As families left with their bags of food ahead of Thanksgiving, it was clear that Leticia Gomez had gone above and beyond to make a difference.