U.S. President Barack Obama will honor Colombian immigrant Jorge Muñoz with the Presidential Citizens Medal at a White House ceremony, honoring the Pereira native for his work feeding the poor in New York City.
Muñoz is a school bus driver by day, but at 9.30PM every night he dishes out hot meals to the poor of the borough of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York. According to CNN, the Colombian serves as many as 140 meals a night and has served over 70,000 meals in the four years that he has been running his charitable operation “An Angel in Queens.”
In an interview with the American broadcaster, Muñoz said that the costs of his good deeds are between $400 and $450 a week. These costs are funded through his family’s savings and his $700 a week paycheck.
“When I see these guys on the street, it’s like seeing me, 20-something years ago when I came to this country,” he said.
Muñoz was born in Colombia. After his father died, his mother moved to New York, where she found work as a nanny and he followed in her foosteps in the 1980s. Muñoz obtained legal residency in 1987 and went on to obtain U.S. citizenship.
“Jorge Muñoz recognizes that we all have a stake in one another. By giving his time, energy, and resources to feeding the hungry, he has demonstrated the enduring American values of sacrifice and kindness,” a statement on the White House website reads. “Muñoz receives the Citizens Medal for his service and dedication to creating a more hopeful tomorrow for the less fortunate among us.”
Over the last forty years Presidential Citizens Medal has been awarded to Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”