TULARE COUNTY, California. (KSEE) – A recent graduate of Dinuba High School has spent the pandemic volunteering– helping the homeless get supplies and helping students to gain internet access.

Angel Hernandez was recently awarded the state seal of civic engagement.

It’s an award through the state board of education that recognizes students who excel academically and show the qualities of a model citizen through civic engagement.

Angel has been putting these qualities to use for years.

“I have been volunteering at the Hodges Community Center here in my small town of London for the past 2 to 3 years,” said Hernandez.

When the pandemic hit, Angel knew he needed to help those in need.

With the guidance of the community center, he came up with a plan.

 “But the people who are most suffering are homeless people. So, I came up with this idea that I should help the homeless. So, I made a go fund me. I raised, my goal was 650, I raised 1,300 that’s double the amount,” said Hernandez. “So, on Christmas Eve we went and distributed items, masks, hand sanitizers, clothing, food whatever you can think of we took it.”

He also helped dozens of families with technology during the months of online learning.

“So, I took it upon myself to help connect the Wi-Fi boxes to the internet so that way they could attend school online. They mostly speak Spanish, so it is hard for them to understand the concept of electronics and things like that,” explained Hernandez.

London doesn’t have widely available internet access- so it was a challenge. One that leaders at the community center say Angel really helped overcome.

“It was very difficult at the time for people to adjust. So just having the extra help, having angel help that was very important and I think it became a vital part of our program at that time, said Community Resource Liaison Connie Huerta.  

Which is why he was nominated for his outstanding character.

“It makes me feel good, so that is why I do it,” Hernandez said.

He plans to attend Reedley College and Fresno State, where he’ll major in social work.