Waltrip High School senior Leanne Carrasco and her family and friends ordered 95 pizzas for women and children at a homeless shelter in Houston, Texas as a way to give back to the community and make a difference.
“Not a lot of people have the same options as me. It’s not fair,” she told CNN. “There are a lot of people who need help. So I give it.”
Carrasco had previously volunteered at Star of Hope Family Development Center, but this time she wanted to make an extra-special impact to the lives of its residents.
“I just want to be a blessing and show these beautiful women and children that no matter what, someone does care,” she told Fox26.
“It’s very fulfilling to know that I’m able to help others instead of just helping myself,” Carrasco told Komo News. “It feels so amazing.”
Together with her family and friends, Carrasco spent around a month collecting products such as toothpaste, soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, and turned them into over 400 hygiene-bags to hand out as gifts for the residents at the pizza-party.
The group put on their blue aprons and got to work.
Around 200 Star of Hope residents stood up to give Carrasco and her friends a standing ovation—and then they lined up to give her a hug.
The high school senior told her parents earlier this year she wanted to do something different than a typical graduation party, which she said would cost a lot of money and could be quickly forgotten.
The family then decided to get in touch with Star of Hope to begin planning for the event.
“Parties, they don’t last that long, only a couple of hours. Probably, I won’t even remember it. But being able to give to these people, it means a lot,” Carrasco told Fox26.
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) June 3, 2019
Scott Arthur, a spokesman for the shelter, said the Star of Hope residents realize others care for their wellbeing after their interaction with Carrasco and her friends.
“They [the teens] had respect for these people. They saw them as peers,” Arthur told CNN. “The residents saw this as a validation that people do care.”
”It was a very magical day,” he said, continuing: “It gives you a hope for the youth of today. They [the high schoolers] were able to think of other people.”
“I told her this was her final exam, and she got an A plus,” Arthur said.
Instead of a graduation party, Waltrip HS Senior Leanne Carrasco asked family and friends to throw a pizza party for the homeless women and children @StarOfHope. They provided and served 95 pizzas and made and distributed 400 “toiletry bags”. pic.twitter.com/Oy0kucI5Yi
— Scott Arthur (@ScottCArthur) June 3, 2019
This fall, Carassco plans to continue her education, studying nursing at Briar Cliff University in Iowa.
The graduating senior urged people to appreciate what they have, and to always give back to others when possible.
“I think you should always know you’re lucky to have what you have,” she told CNN. “Don’t take that for granted and continue to give.”