Evelyn Martin is a woman of many names at United Community’s Fordson Road office. Some team members call her Miss Sunshine. Others simply know her as the “cup lady”. But those who know her best, simply call her Ms. Martin.
Ms. Martin and her family were hit hard when schools were closed by the COVID-19 pandemic back in March. A determined entrepreneur and grandmother of 8, Ms. Martin faced the daunting challenge of trying to keep her custom-print business “Etimespecialties” alive AND providing food for her family.
Fortunately, as a long-time client and advocate of United Community, Ms. Martin knew exactly where she could turn for help.
“United Community has always been there for me and my family,” Ms. Martin said. “So anytime I get any good, I give it back to them.”
One rainy, Wednesday morning, United Community team member Torria Baker decided to help Ms. Martin load her groceries into her car at United Community's food pantry.
“I was about to head back inside, when she asked me if she could take my picture and how I spelled my name,” Torria recalls. “The next time I saw her, she handed me a personalized mug with my face on it! I didn’t know what to say!”
The gift was just the first of many. Since that wet April morning, Ms. Martin has brought a special personalized mug or gift to each of the team members working at Fordson Road -- even some of the volunteers!
“I heard her before I saw her,” Rica Nelson adds, remembering the first time she met Ms. Martin. “I heard that bubbly voice when she came around the corner. All it takes is a smile. You don’t have to do anything extra for her. Just smile and the next thing you know she asks if she can take your picture.”
“I am a blessing to those who are a blessing to me,” Ms. Martin says. “It puts a smile on my face when I give the United Community workers something with their picture on it -- it makes me feel really good.”
Originally from Louisiana, Ms. Martin moved to DC to live with her grandmother when she was young. Later in life, she discovered United Community [then UCM] as a young single mother who fell on hard times. She went on to work at Xerox, where she helped secure furniture and other printing services for UCM’s programs. Ms. Martin served on UCM’s Board of Directors, volunteering her time, connections, and experience as a client to advance the agency’s mission in the community.
“Anytime I have any good, I gave it back to United Community,” Ms. Martin remembers. “I still do!”