Ten-time world champion, Hall of Fame boxer, Olympic gold medalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist Oscar De La Hoya volunteered in the Project Angel Food kitchen on his birthday, Friday, Feb. 4, to give back to residents of the city of Los Angeles. He was joined by girlfriend, Holly Sonders, an influencer, golfer and former Fox Sports broadcaster.
De La Hoya was hospitalized with COVID-19 for three days in September, and wanted to celebrate his 49th birthday by volunteering with an organization on the frontlines of L.A.’s COVID-19 relief effort. Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub welcomed the couple to the kitchen.
“We’ve had some big stars and even royalty in our kitchen, but to see the volunteer and staff light up like this – some even coming in on their days off to wish Oscar a happy birthday – is pretty amazing,” Ayoub said.
The Olympic gold medalist credits his mother, who passed away from breast cancer in 1990, for instilling the importance of helping others a young age. But it was his battle with COVID-19 that De La Hoya said makes volunteering on his birthday that much more special.
“Being hospitalized by COVID really opened up my eyes and my heart to give back even more,” De La Hoya said. “So, the fact that I’m here on my birthday really is a blessing and reminds me of how many people there are in need.”
De La Hoya and Sonders brought a custom-made birthday cake to share with volunteers and staff. They cut vegetables and put special labels on meals to let clients know De La Hoya made their meal. He boxed with a pinata, posed for photographs, signed autographs and joined Ayoub for Project Angel Food’s Lead with Love Instagram Live series.
The Oscar De La Hoya Foundation was established in 1995 and helps improve the quality of life in his hometown community of East Los Angeles. The foundation created and maintains a state-of-the-art cancer center, charter high school, labor and delivery center, and a neonatal intensive care unit.
Project Angel Food prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to 2,400 critically ill men, women and children each day in Los Angeles County. Volunteers are always needed in the Project Angel Food kitchen, located at 922 Vine St. For information, visit angelfood.org.
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