Jeffries Point resident Josue Tejada, a fourth grader at Patrick J. Kennedy School (PJK), is one of Eastie Farm’s youngest volunteers who shows up each day ready to help out at the community food distribution site.
“He is our friendly interpreter that shows up at a moment’s notice,” said Eastie Farm founder Kannan Thiruvengadam. “He also brings a lot of joy by being his curious, social self.”
As East Farm began feeding food insecure families in the neighborhood due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, Josue has been an intrical part of the farm’s efforts over the past few months.
After learning about the young man’s tendency to help, Rep. Adrian Madaro decided to honor Josue with a citation last week at Eastie Farm’s Sumner Street site.
“I presented a citation to Josue Tejada of Jeffries Point for his invaluable service to Eastie Farm,” said Rep. Madaro. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has stepped up in a major way to offer Spanish interpretation and assist with food distribution to our neighbors in need.”
According to Thiruvengadam, Josue lives upstairs in the building next to Eastie Farm.
“If he hears a Spanish-speaking person and an English-speaking person in the farm struggling to talk to each other, which happens with some frequency, he pops his head out of his window and offers to translate,” said Thiruvengadam. “If you accept, he is down in two seconds, mask, gloves, and all. If he notices someone has been working away on the farm, he offers water.
Sometimes he just comes out to his porch and sits down so he can keep them company.”
Last week Josue saw 60 produce boxes arriving from its partner World Farmers. Eastie Farm has been distributing the World Farmers produce boxes to various Eastie groups feeding families– including the Mutual Aid Network, the Soup kitchen, the Donals McKay, and CCDS.
“Josue realized it was going to take a while, so he came down and made himself part of the crew,” said Thiruvengadam. “After working for about four hours, as we were giving away the last few and signing up new volunteers, he looks at me, and he says: “Go home! I’ll take care of the rest!”.
His principal at the PJK, Kristen Goncalves added, “Josue makes us proud every single day. Thanks so much to Rep. Adrian Madaro for taking the time to honor him. He was so excited to show his class his award on ZOOM.”