LANSING, Mich. — Lansing resident Leo Pessoa has become quite famous on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
He created his TikTok account exactly for that; to get attention to his cause.
Leo says, “I wrote, let’s help food insecurity during this pandemic.”
It all started while on a walk around his neighborhood with his husband, Gregory. Leo and Gregory noticed that a little library book box outside Lansing’s St. Paul’s Episcopal church had food in it instead of books.
“When the epidemic hit, we didn’t have a lot of things to do, and everyone was scared to go out. We wanted some exercise, so we started walking around the block. We saw the box was full of food instead of books. I’ve always been one to help out. I learned this from my dad. Whenever I see a need, I do my best to help.”
For the next several months, Leo and Gregory visited the food box regularly, stocking it with items from their pantry. Then, Leo lost his job due to COVID. Then, his grandmother died due to the virus. That might have stopped some people from continuing to give, but not Leo.
Gregory noticed Leo’s tenacity to keep the food box stocked. He also saw a TV ad that piqued his curiosity.
Gregory says, “I saw this clip on TV that Mazda was going to have their 100 year anniversary and they were going to give away 50 cars. Initially, they were planning this huge celebration for their 100th anniversary, but because of the pandemic, they decided to pick out 50 community heroes and give them a car. I nominated Leo because he has been helping the community the entire pandemic.”
A few months later, they got the call he won. Mazda delivered a new 2020 Miata MX-5 convertible to their house.
Leo says he was surprised but says it’s karma. “When you do great things, great things happen to you.”
Leo and Gregory are challenging their friends to clean out their pantries and give any excess food to them so they can donate it to the food box.
We want to say Thank you to Leo and Gregory for being this week’s fox47 Good Neighbors.
Want to see all of our Good Neighbors segments, click here.
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