Instead of spending his weekends playing video games or hanging out with friends, Jacob Altamirano will be raising money at California Pizza Kitchen in the Shops at Atlas Park to help feed people all over New York City.
The 11-year-old Ridgewood community activist will send all proceeds to The Hungry Monk Rescue Truck, a small organization run by Father Mike Lopez, a priest in Ridgewood.
Altamirano will be at California Pizza Kitchen on occasional weekends to hold events where customers will be encouraged to give 20 percent of their check to his cause. He hopes to raise $10,000.
The young activist began volunteering with The Hungry Monk Rescue Truck when the pandemic struck in 2020. He brought food and other supplies to community members in need.
His older sister, Jamie Longo, had joined his efforts, fundraising to supply food pantries with menstrual products. Last fall, both of the siblings were recognized by former Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee.
Altamirano took a break from volunteering this past school year to focus on his schoolwork but is excited to get back to it this summer.
“When I volunteered with The Hungry Monk Rescue Truck, I learned that there are so many people who need food in our community,” Altamirano said. “Poor people can’t buy groceries or can’t get food. I want to help anyone that can’t pay for their own groceries.”
Until he reaches $10,000, Altamirano will act as a host at California Pizza, taking customers to their tables. He’ll also go around giving out small toys and raffling off a gift card each event.
Connie Altamirano, a community activist and Jacob’s mother, sees a bright future for her son.
“What I’m instilling in him is, even if you’re financially disadvantaged, you can make a change in the world,” said Connie Altamirano. “He’s being taught ‘my mother can do anything, and that means I can do way more than she can.’”
Jacob Altamirano will start hosting these events in July. People interested in attending can find more information on bulletin boards and Facebook community groups around Queens.
For more information, contact Connie Altamirano at (347)777-0841.
This article was updated Thursday, June 10 at 12:55 p.m.