Couple delivers groceries to their elderly neighbors in need

Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond’s Market Square Apartments is home to dozens of senior citizens, a number of them living on a fixed income.

For Patricia Blackwell, budgeting trips to the grocery store and copays at the doctor’s office can be tough.

“It is hard living off of social security income," she said. "If you have to see maybe 5 specialists in a month that’s half your check.”

So every dollar counts. Which is why she’s so grateful to get a few free items like bread, dropped off from two generous souls.

“I don’t care if it’s snowing, rain or shine, they go out to collect food from the grocery store and bring it back. Neighbors come in with their little goodie bags and they take what they can use. Pies, cake, chicken, deli meat, I depend on this," says Patricia.

Julio and Minerva Illas have been picking up food from nearby grocery stores and churches and bringing it back to the seniors at Market Square for years.

For Patricia, words can’t thank this couple enough.

“I don’t speak Spanish, but sometimes I would catch a word here, catch a word there and put it together and figure out what he said.”

Through a translator, Julio Illas said, “I feel very blessed and pleased when I see people take the food and take it home. That way they don’t have to spend any additional money that they might not have.”

Not having food to eat is something Patricia knows very well: it’s something she struggled with in the past.

“I know what it is to be hungry and alone, not knowing where your next meal is coming from,” says Patricia.

She didn’t hesitate to reach out to NBC12 to help her acknowledge this loving couple.

“His love for mankind is what motivates him, it is an honor to even know him and his wife,” says Patricia.

We surprised them with $300 dollars in cash and a $50 dollar gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

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