When the coronavirus outbreak forced the majority of people across the country to start working from home, there was general concern for how it would alter personal lives and daily routines. For the staff at BBVA Stadium, no gatherings meant no games or events, which in turn meant there wasn’t much going on at their workplace.
Assistant Stadium Operations Manager Jose Arroyo started thinking about how the pandemic would affect his community, and how he could use his newfound free time to help.
Having always felt a deep love for his hometown and the people in it, the native Houstonian began researching and reaching out to various organizations around the city of Houston, to find out how he could best help those in need and spread positivity. His first stop was at the Houston Food Bank on March 15, where he contributed to making more than 7,000 meals for those in need.
“At that point, I think we were only being told to avoid gatherings of over 100 people, so not the situation we are in today,” Arroyo explained. “But I saw on their website where they needed more volunteers, especially because schools and some of the other places had already shut down, and they were going to be creating some breakfast and lunch programs to help with some local school districts, so I helped out there for a few hours.”
The next weekend, the Spring Branch native was volunteering again, this time giving blood at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.
“It was really kind of the same situation,” Arroyo said. “Earlier in the week, I saw online where people were posting about there being a blood shortage, so I googled where to donate blood and scheduled to go donate that weekend.”
The 29-year-old has also made a point of promoting local businesses on his social media feeds, posting videos of himself doing the Southside dance in front of the store and asking others to shop and eat at locally owned restaurants. In fact, the daughter of the owner of one of the stores he visited saw Arroyo’s post and thanked him for spreading his message during these tough times.
Most recently, Arroyo helped raise money through one of his social media posts by promoting donations to Feed the Front Line, which buys meals from local businesses and delivers them to healthcare workers who are risking their lives to help fight the virus.
“People just kept sending me screenshots of their donations, and the last time I checked we were just over $150,” Arroyo explained. “It was great though, because not only do I have friends who are nurses, but Feed the Front Line also helps Ben Taub General Hospital, which is where my dad got treated a couple of months ago. Every time we went there, the nurses were incredibly helpful, and I wanted to give back to try and help them during this time. Even if it is something small, I want to spread the message of helping others and bring out good vibes.”
Despite the ever-changing situation, Arroyo has faith that Houston will persevere, as always.
“Everybody is holding it down together,” Arroyo said. “We are all one community and we are all in this together. Houston has been through catastrophes together, like Hurricane Harvey, but at the end of the day, we always come out of it appreciative of each other and this community. You don’t even have to be a Houstonian; we just take care of each other here.”