PEC Member Relations Field Technician Jesse Martinez is the kind of person who asks a simple question when he sees his community struggling: What can we do? Working collections during the shutdown period of the pandemic, Martinez witnessed a scene at a low-income apartment complex that made him ask exactly that.
“It was a scary time, a lot of parents were out of work, and I saw kids pulling on their moms and saying ‘we’re hungry, we want McDonalds’,” Martinez explained. “The kids were hungry and the moms were saying, ‘we don’t have any money for McDonalds.’” He felt compelled to act to help these hungry kids, and decided he could organize a cookout at the complex to make hot dogs for whoever needed a meal.
Martinez worked with the apartment manager to get permission to host the event on a Saturday. That afternoon they fed hot dogs and watermelon to about 25 people and even provided them gift bags with cookies and snack bars. People loved it, Martinez was inspired to continue, and the Children’s Hot Dog Ministry was born. Wanting to serve as many kids as possible, Martinez eventually rented a pavilion at Johnson Park in Marble Falls. That event drew what Martinez describes as a “whole lot” of kids.
“It was all to give back to the community and help through this crazy time,” Martinez explained. “Can you imagine what the children were going through? You’re a kid, you can’t go out, people are losing their jobs, dying. What a scary time. It was what we could do for the kiddos.”
The ministry has evolved over time, and now they are working directly with the schools. When Marble Falls hosted a recent back-to-school event, the Children’s Hot Dog Ministry was there. Families of students received shoes, school supplies, and haircuts, and walked through a maze. At the end of the maze, Martinez and his volunteers were there to serve 1,400 hot dogs to kids and parents.
He says he has thought a lot on the idea of making an impact, and came up with an acronym he hopes will inspire others to action:
I – invested
M – mindful
P – professional
A – accountability
C – community
T – togetherness
Martinez says that the Children’s Hot Dog Ministry is just one example of the power we have as a cooperative, and he’s calling on PEC employees to get involved and help out with whatever people need in the community.
“If employees pitch in with something, we can make it way more successful,” he said. “They don’t have to help me with what I’m doing, but they can join and promote things like fundraisers or shoe drives in their community, and we can make a big impact in people’s lives.”
One easy way for PEC members to make a difference in the community is by joining PEC’s Power of Change Program. Power of Change allows members to round up their monthly bill to the nearest dollar to fund important projects at local nonprofits.