On Saturdays, you can find Roberto Mendoza feeding the homeless at North Tryon Street and Phifer Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Salvadoran chef knows what it’s like to go hungry. So as a teen, he made a promise that if he ever was in the position to keep others from experiencing hunger, he’d do everything he could. And though he’s already kept his promise, Mendoza – who recently won a $250,000 lottery prize in North Carolina – has decided that he will use his winnings to feed more people in the Dominican Republic.
Mendoza, who works for the Sysco food service company and who has worked events where he’s fed several presidents, said he bought the ticket in the first place because of his mom. “My mom was up visiting,” he said. “She told me she had a lucky feeling and knew I was going to win the lottery, so I bought a ticket.”
He purchased a Hit $500 scratch-off ticket for $5 at a local store, and when he arrived home he started scratching. “My hands started shaking when I saw the numbers,” he said. “I’ve been shaking ever since.”
After state and federal taxes, Mendoza will have $176,876, which he will use to finish up a cafeteria he’s building in the Dominican Republic.