Erica Martinez: A voice to the hungry

Erica Martinez (Our York Media)

Erica Martinez wanted to give her children a brighter future. She moved from her home in the Bronx to York, where she thought her son and daughter would have a better education, more opportunities and a chance to lead meaningful lives.

But when she moved into her brother’s home in York, she found the cupboards were bare. An empty refrigerator meant her children had empty stomachs.

“I asked my brother what he was going to feed his children. His response was, ‘I don’t know what you’re going to feed yours, but my kids are used to swallowing air and drinking water,'” she says.

On the front steps, head in her hands, a neighbor offered Erica $20 to get food for her kids and told her about the York County Food Bank.

“We were empowered by the programs that are out there. I hope others aren’t afraid to ask for that help.”

For several months and through two of the food bank’s programs, Erica got the food she needed to feed herself and her children. She worked seasonally at H&R Block but found the stable employment she needed in the place that first gave her hope.

Today, she works with the York County Food Bank as the Coordinator to the Clearing House Food Pantry Hotline. With each phone call and every visit, she shares a bit of her own story for those who are in the same position she was not too long ago.

Ten years after moving to York, she’s found the bright future she longed for. Her son is a college student and her daughter a sophomore at William Penn Senior High School.

“My kids encourage me to share that story,” she says. “We were empowered by the programs that are out there. I hope others aren’t afraid to ask for that help.”




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