The second annual “We’re here to help” event in Langley City helped about 60 needy and homeless people get clothing, a warm meal and other necessities.
Organizer Augustino Duminuco, the founder of the Langley-based Infinite Expansion Foundation non-profit, said the first was held on Main and Hastings in Vancouver exactly one year earlier on Dec. 10.
“We brought it back to my home town,” Duminuco told the Times.
“Why not help where you’re from, right?”
Volunteers used vans to bring people to the event, held at the L’amour de soi beauty salon on Douglas Crescent.
At the entrance to the salon, people were helping themselves to food and coffee on a table, while inside, salon owner Courtney Smith, who has previously organized makeovers for female residents of a homeless shelter, was helping people find clothing.
“I met lots of beautiful people from the community and loved helping them pick out clothes and find their sizes,” Smith said.
“Everyone was smiling and having a great time. It was my pleasure to open the doors to my salon and host this event.”
Duminuco said the results were better than expected.
For Duminuco, who went from being homeless to running a construction company, there was a strong personal connection with the people waiting in line that Sunday afternoon.
I know what it’s like to have nothing and nobody,” Duminuco said.
“I just remember those times when people helped me and I’ll never forget it. I’ll always remember that.”
On social media, Duminuco posted a thank-you to everyone who came and volunteered and donated.
“You are all absolutely amazing,” he said.
“Courtenay Smith, Melanie Grant, Brandon Lindenbach, Josephine Duminuco, Hayley Marie, Rob Lomas, thank you!”
Duminuco also thanked business sponsors Tays Cedar Products, We Do Recover towing, Shooter Liquor store and Zone Garage B.C.
Since the first “We’re Here To Help” was organized by the Langley resident, Duminuco has incorporated the foundation as a registered non-profit “dedicated to giving back to our community and providing those in need a hand up.”
Duminuco has been informally organizing events to help the needy since 2016.
Among other things, he has been loading up a van with supplies every two or three weeks to distribute food, clothing and other necessities to homeless people.
Duminuco said the new non-profit organization will work on initiatives to aid the less fortunate and low-income families.
The charitable foundation was registered in September and held its first event in mid-October, when it arranged to have a group of hairdressers donate their services to some homeless men and women in Surrey.
About 20 people took advantage of the offer.
Duminuco had arranged similar makeover events before, in Langley and Vancouver, but this was the first put together by the new foundation.