The pandemic has only exasperated the economic disparities experienced by the homeless, low-income workers, and the unemployed. To help those in need, Honduran University of the District of Columbia student Osman Milla has gone all over the world. He’s given meals, clothes, mattresses, and an ear to hear their stories. Read his inspirational story from ABC7.
Osman Milla has made it a purpose to help others in need for years and it’s something he attributes in part to his upbringing in Honduras.
“I grew up in a village in Honduras without running water and electricity. My mother, father, and four siblings survived without having much to eat and that was the experience. With my experience growing up, I don’t want people to have the same life that I had, I want to help others. We can’t change the world, but we can help impact the lives of others,” Milla says.
The 29-year-old student works at a local restaurant, volunteers, and has been feeding the homeless in the D.C. area for over five years. He’s also a recent graduate from the University of D.C. with an associate’s degree in Hospitality and he’s currently working on his bachelor’s in Hospitality.
Milla prepared meals from the restaurant and gave it to the homeless on his way to class at Union Station three times a week on days he worked at the eatery.
The business would have to throw food away but Milla spoke with and convinced the restaurant manager to let him give the food to the homeless instead of disposing of it.
However, Milla tells ABC7 the pandemic has affected his volunteering activities.
“With the pandemic, I don’t do the same things I was able to do. I used to feed the homeless in downtown D.C. every day, says Milla. The pandemic changed that. I had to find new ways to help. During the pandemic, I was able to help eight families with getting groceries and supplies and was working with two local nonprofits who donated food. And the nonprofit would drop off the food at my home and the families would stop by to pick it up. I was laid off for four months while I was doing this.”
Milla is also enthusiastic about a new endeavor he’s planning to delve into to further support communities in need.
“I’m always trying to do something different. Casa Ruby is a non-profit located in D.C. that helps homeless people in the area and nationwide. This a place where I plan to support starting next week. They help people to secure employment, learn English, find appropriate healthcare and get an education. In the beginning, the nonprofit served the LGBTQ community but now it serves all communities,” Milla says.
In November 2020, Milla worked on a project helping the Honduras community back home after the area was ravaged by two hurricanes.
He sent 20 extra-large boxes of donations and bought 100 mattresses to help the community members in Honduras affected by the hurricane. Milla raised over $10,000 for seven nonprofits in Honduras that helped families in need. The money was used to buy medicine, supplies, clothes, and shoes to help families impacted by the hurricane. And the money was used to ship the supplies and to purchase mattresses.
Milla also emphasized to ABC7 the need for action by everyone to support those less fortunate because he adds there are a lot of individuals in need globally.
“Let’s help our friends and family and those in need. There is a lot of need in the entire world. We have to work hard. If we can help someone, we can make an impact on that person. We can start by helping one person at a time and we have to keep going and we can help more people. I use my social media pages on Facebook and Instagram to show what I’m doing to help others, and my friends see what I’m doing. If people see you’re doing a great job, they will support you. I got a lot of support through social media,” Milla concludes.