PINOLE (KPIX 5) — This week’s Jefferson Award winner is a man from the East Bay who started saving a portion of his paycheck to serve the community, sharing the holiday spirit all year round.
A free outdoor festival in Richmond is a gift of love and hope for families in need.READ MORE: 4 San Jose Double Homicide Suspects Arrested; Drugs, Weapons Seized
Ashley Santos of San Pablo brought her three younger siblings. “That’s super amazing, wholesome and heartwarming,” Santos said of the event.
With hundreds of toys, free haircuts, face painting, crafts, and sweets, it’s almost too much for 11 year old Brianna Rodriguez take in at first.
“I was like, this is cool, fun,” she smiled.
Jairo Martinez of Pinole organized the all-day event over the holidays with about 30 relatives and friends.
“If we all give back a little bit, it can make a big difference,” Martinez said.
Jairo started a service group in 2018 that he named JM Charity.
JM stands for his initials, plus those of his sons and his siblings.
The whole family volunteers together, inspired by Jairo’s parents, who made giving a priority despite the financial challenges of raising four sons.
“My mother always taught me when you do something, do it out of your heart, don’t expect nothing back,” Martinez said.
In fact, his mother goes all out, too, at the holiday event, dressed as an elf.READ MORE: Contra Costa County Coroner Identifies Fatal Stabbing Victim as Concord Man
Behind the scenes, Jairo reserves part of his salary from working at an industrial paint company, and from operating his own business, JM Customs.
He buys toys for the annual toy drives plus food supplies.
His wife, Mom, and other relatives cook everything from fruit-filled desserts to grilled chicken to tamales.
They’ve given away hundreds of holiday meals in Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Richmond.
“We started looking for homeless here in Richmond, that’s the city where I grew up, that’s where I wanted to start,” Martinez explained.
In addition, the group also sells homemade meals to raise money for others.
When Martinez’s 12-year-old son, Jordan, heard about a 4-year-old girl in Long Beach with brain tumor, JM Charity raised thousands of dollars for her family.
Jordan says his Dad has taught him that giving is a lifestyle.
“It makes me feel good,” Jordan said.
Martinez and his family is also known to buy lunch for San Pablo Police to show their appreciation for their service.. and community partnership.
Captain Brian Bubar said, “We’re really fortunate to have Jairo within our family, within our community.”MORE NEWS: Gun Rights Group Sues San Jose Over Liability Insurance Ordinance
So for leading JM Charity in serving the homeless and other families in need in the East Bay, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Jairo Martinez.