Destiny Cassandra Cueto works the front desk at Star Motel on Highway 192 near Kissimmee, where she tends to the daily physical and mental needs of all her guests.
“The office is more like a therapy room than it is an office nowadays,” said Cueto, who lives in the motel with her husband and three kids.
On the week leading up to Saturday’s Three Kings’ Day, or the Epiphany, she made calls to organizations in Central Florida to ask for toy donations. Jan. 6 is a gift-giving Christian holiday that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. It’s celebrated in countries throughout Europe and Latin America, including Puerto Rico.
“I grew up in foster care, so I know what it is to have nothing during the holidays — to not feel loved, not have anything,” Cueto said. “To me, being a child and not being able to control your situation . I don’t ever want any child to feel the way I felt growing up.”
One of the few who called her back was Father Jose Rodriguez, who leads the service at the Episcopal Church Jesus de Nazaret in Orlando. In a matter of hours Friday night, he organized a group of volunteers to buy more than 100 toys to take to Star Motel on Saturday morning.
Three volunteers, dressed in clothing reminiscent of the three wise men who followed a star to baby Jesus, hand-delivered the toys to the dozens of children living at…