"With God's help, we'll all make it."
Many consider Helen Ortiz to be one of God's helpers. Every morning for more than 20 years, she has served breakfast to 200 people, most of them homeless, at the Salvation Army in Saint Paul. She not only cooks 18 quarts of homemade soup each day, she also plans the meals and coordinates volunteers. Helen knows many who come in for breakfast by name. Some of them call her "Mom." "I have all kinds of nephews, nieces, sons and daughters."
It somehow seems appropriate that she takes care of such a big "family." Helen herself is one of 15 children. She says her parents are her heroes because they always did what they needed to feed their children. That included getting help from the Salvation Army. That's why she volunteers with the organization now.
Helen loves serving breakfast. She volunteers 30 very physical hours a week. Still, she jokes with those who tell her she has her place in heaven.
"Whether I go to heaven or hell, don't put me in the kitchen."
Designated Charity: $1100 to St. Stanislaus Church