Sometimes the words “thank you” just don’t do justice. This is one of those times.
When Raul Cantu joined our staff a little over a year ago, little did we know what the future held. About a week after Raul signed the dotted line to become our Events Coordinator, COVID hit and all our events for the next year were all cancelled.
Within a few days, Raul came into my office with a list of things he thought Diversity could do in spite of the pandemic. Actually, his brainchild of food drives was prompted because of the pandemic. Our first two drives targeted the Hispanic community as so many Hispanic people work in the hospitality industry which has been especially hard-hit due to COVID. Our third drive was open to the public with over 800 cars traveling through our parking lot with volunteers filling their car trunks with a week’s supply of groceries. Since late last year, we have helped over 2,300 families.
Raul has been a Richmond fixture for years as owner of the popular restaurants, Nacho Mama’s. He was president of the Carytown Merchant’s Association and lifted Richmond’s awareness of the Carytown shopping district, the same way he did for Diversity Richmond.
The partnerships he has forged with other nonprofits is absolutely amazing. The numbers of people who had never set foot on our property and who now love Diversity has grown tremendously because of his efforts.
As one of our employees shared, “You can’t help but love the guy.” And we agree.
Raul’s husband is a doctor and has accepted a position in South Florida. It’s not difficult picturing Raul in the midst of palm trees and sunshine. But he will always be a part of what he created here at Diversity Richmond. Folks such as Raul don’t just fade away. They remain and remain in our hearts he will.