Leticia holding some of her Thanksgiving food gift bags

A leading staff member pays it forward

Leticia Gomez knew she wanted to do something special for patient families this holiday season. But she didn’t expect how far her generosity would go. She approached the Director of Health Education, Dr. Meghan Miller, who oversees our annual Thanksgiving food giveaway for patients, to donate $1,000. Her gift would feed 50 patient families over the holiday season, far more than in previous years.

When asked what had prompted such a large donation, Gomez had a simple answer.

“We were homeless in 1980 due to a fire. It was me, my mom, my sister, my brother and my daughter. I remember when my mom used to struggle.”

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.

“Now that I’m in the position to do something, I wanted to do something to give back”- Leticia Gomez
“Now that I’m in the position to do something, I wanted to do something to give back” - Leticia Gomez

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.

Thanksgiving thank you card

This post is featured in our monthly newsletter from November/December 2023.

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News and events – November/December 2023

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The Floating Hospital provides high-quality healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration or insurance status, or the ability to pay. By providing unrestricted medical care in tandem with health education and social support to vulnerable New York City families, The Floating Hospital aims to ensure those most in need have the ability to thrive, not just survive.


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