February 6, 2018
Sometimes in life bonds are formed where never expected. This was the case for Marty Reiman and Dr. Pariksith Singh 21 years ago. Marty was a patient who was annoyed that he had to wait so long for his visit, and Dr. Singh was having an extremely busy day taking care of one patient after another. When called into the examining room, Marty almost immediately said to Dr. Singh, “My time is just as valuable as yours.” No one knew that this awkward first encounter would lead to a journey helping thousands of lives together.
Twelve years later People Helping People started from a Lutheran Church and became an interfaith organization for feeding the poor and indigent. They work to provide everything from food and clothing to showers and life skills. Each week they supply over 650 children in Hernando County with meals. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they meet the homeless by the woods and bring them hot meals. Sometimes there are only 10 homeless people, sometimes there are 60. They also provide what is called Sunday Blessings for seniors who would like a fresh hot meal and may be lacking in resources.
Marty Reiman became the Vice-President of this organization years ago. Still going to Dr. Singh 21 years later, Dr. Singh has now become almost protective over his friend Marty, worrying about him and calling him to check on him if he even hears that he’s not feeling well. They will find just about anything to tease each other about like two brothers roasting each other at the dinner table. But Marty says, “No matter how we tease each other, I know Dr. Singh cares about me. I don’t care what he says!” Then for one quick second Dr. Singh reveals a softer side saying, “Marty, we want you around with us a long time.” Right after they have their time of making fun of each other and getting their laughs out, they both sigh and reminisce about memory lane.
Dr. Maria and Dr. Singh have been committed to assisting People Helping People since Marty first informed them of it in 2009. They sponsor this organization on a monthly basis not only with regular financial donations but also supporting as many resources as possible. They donated the entire commercial grade kitchen including walk-in refrigerators, commercial range, fryers, and trays. This kitchen is not only used for food prep, but also for teaching the less fortunate skills like culinary arts and waiting on tables that might be used for employment. Whenever possible Dr. Maria’s Auro Community Garden donates its harvested produce to the organization. Oak Hill Hospital also donates money to the organization on Dr. Singh’s behalf because he was awarded the First Humanitarian Award and also because of his display of concern for the well-being of others.
That uncomfortable first encounter was the start of a passionate journey to help others.
Maybe sometimes paths are meant to cross, even if there is friction at first. It could be a lesson to be learned, an experience to be had, or it could be because through different backgrounds, religions, or races, souls were meant to move mountains together and the call of action for them is stronger than any differences they may have.
As Dr. Maria says, “A step beyond is what we do, knowing that there is no time to wait or waste.”
To donate or learn more about People Helping People please visit www.phpinhc.org.
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