Jul 04, 2020
Photo Courtesy of Jasmine Castillo

She fed the homeless on her 21st birthday. Three years later, she keeps doing it

As she prepared for her 21st birthday, throwing a party and going out for her first drink didn’t sound appealing to Jasmine Castillo, a senior public health administration major at Fresno State.

“In my mind, I was just like, ‘Why do I have to do those things?’” Castillo said.

So, Castillo imagined she could do something more beneficial for the community, a service she has always valued.

In 2012, she was awarded Woman of the Year for District 31 by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea for her community service. Having grown up in Fresno, she said she witnessed firsthand the homelessness within the city.

And on the day of her 21st birthday, she decided to gather and donate toiletries to the Poverello House, a local homeless shelter. Three years later, her service continues as “Jaz’s Birthday Wish.”

In 2017, Castillo wished to have more of an interaction while serving. Then she, along with a couple friends, served 100 handmade burritos to people living in tents outside the Poverello House near downtown Fresno.

“That experience has been the best one of them all,” she said. “I enjoyed being about to interact with [people] and see how they were genuinely grateful.”

The tradition continues this year on Friday, during Castillo’s 24th birthday. She plans to make burritos with eight friends and deliver them once again near the Poverello House at 2 p.m.

Those interested in contributing to “Jaz’s Birthday Wish” can donate on Venmo by searching: Jasmine-Castillo. The account is open to the public.

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