They say in order to really love what you do, you must have a passion for it. Both Danae Gutierrez and Luis Carrillo of the 'Harvest Project' are proving just that.
While they aren’t reaping any major cash benefits, they are rich in something else, their love to serve their neighbors in northwest Dallas, parts of Oak Cliff, and beyond.
"We wanted to show you why we are superheroes rescuing food," Gutierrez mentioned in a video at one of their food distribution events in Oak Cliff.
Founded in 2014, the Harvest Project provides fresh produce at no cost to anyone who needs it.
If you really want to understand why the organization means so much to Gutierrez, you have to understand her roots
"I am a DACA recipient, my family went through food insecurity," Gutierrez said. "I remember crying to my mom going, 'I want a banana,' that's like my favorite food and my mom saying we don't have any money for a banana."
That’s just one of the reasons why you can find her and Carrillo at many carefully selected locations every weekend, not requesting any documentation to prove you are in need.
"The whole thing that we have been promoting is our ability to give produce to anyone regardless of their background," Carrillo said.
According to Gutierrez, from Northwest Dallas to Oak Cliff, they’ve given away more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce – once meant for landfills.
"There's so many people in our separate communities [who] are going hungry, yet the food that's so good is being sent to the landfill, that shouldn't be happening," Gutierrez said.
Before the unwanted produce leaves wholesale warehouses, the all-volunteer organization sends trucks to pick up whatever isn’t considered up-to-par for grocery store shelves.
"Nobody should be going hungry and it’s like, what are we not doing to take care of those who are most vulnerable?" Gutierrez added. "Not just the ones who are sick, not just the old, but for people who are undocumented, they are the ones hiding in the shadows, not wanting to come out.”
It's why they want to ensure there are no barriers to receiving healthy foods for some of Dallas' most vulnerable communities.
"If you need it, here you are," Carrillo said. "There isn’t a barrier between our ability to give you produce and you taking it. You can take it if you need it.”
They aren't your ordinary superheroes, but these two are using their superpowers to provide superfoods for the greater good.
According to Gutierrez, since the pandemic started, the need for fresh produce has increased three times their normal output.
You can find out more information about the organization, including ways to help or receive assistance by visiting their website.