Hometown Heroes: Freddy and Amanda Lopez

By M.G. Angulo –

Ray Aguilar with Amanda and Freddy Lopez.

Sometimes unintended efforts spawn something priceless and quite valuable. This is what Freddy and Amanda Lopez of Richmond discovered years ago when they co-hosted a party with friends, and what began as a simple and fun gathering, quickly transformed into a mission worth noticing.

“We originally just had a block party with our neighbors, but after seeing what a great turnout we had, we decided to put a cause behind it,” said Amanda, referring to an annual Thanksgiving dinner she, her husband and her neighbors Brian and Sara Batten, have hosted for a family in need for the past three years.

Freddy Lopez, co-owner of Expert Collision in Rosenberg, said the Thanksgiving dinner features more than wholesome food. “The Nigel Edison band usually performs, Fermin Carrasco of It’s the Pitts Cookers makes barbecue, Constable Nehls personally provides security and the Richmond Fire Department brings coloring books and fire helmets to the kids,” he said.

Funds are also raised for the chosen family. All in all, it is a precious time that epitomizes love for one’s community. “The family kind of chooses us,” said Amanda of how they choose the honored guests. The first recipient of this special dinner was a man who lived on the Lopez’s street who needed a heart transplant. “He has two young boys, and we knew that money was tight for them, so we naturally chose them,” Amanda said.

Amanda, Adlei, Mali, Zoe and Freddy Lopez.

The following year Freddy and Amanda knew they wanted to continue the tradition with a family who lived in their neighborhood of Long Meadow Farms, so when they saw a family advertising around the neighborhood that they would mow grass, clean houses or perform other chores, the Lopez’s immediately decided they would be the honored guests of the next dinner. “We knew this was a family who had seven children who went to school with our kids, and we felt drawn to help them,” Amanda said.

These dinners, the couple stresses, are about not only caring for their community but also setting a sound example for their three daughters: Zoe, 9; Adlei, 6 and Mali, 5. “It’s important to be involved in the community, because we love to make new friends and shape the direction we want to go  as a family,” said Amanda. “It’s important that our kids see us giving back. We want that instilled in them.  We’re truly blessed with a healthy family, great friends and a successful business. We feel as long as we keep our hands and hearts open, we’ll continue to be blessed.”

The Lopez family does not stop their community contributions with their Thanksgiving dinners though. Freddy donates to Behind the Badge, County Commissioner Vincent Morales, Constable Trever Nehls, Sheriff Troy Nehls, the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Association, the Sugar Land Police Officer’s Association, the Missouri City Police Officer’s Association, the Fort Bend Corps and Santa’s Village at the Stafford Centre. “Every year we buy bicycles, scooters, skateboards and toys and give them away,” Freddy said of Santa’s Village. “In 2016 we gave away 30 bikes with the help of our friends.”

Amanda serves on the Mad Hatter committee for Meals on Wheels, Oak Bend Medical Center’s Patchwork for Life committee, and she decorates and donates a Christmas tree for Jingle Tree at the Museum of Natural Science Sugar Land each year.

Even the Lopez’s daughters devote themselves to their community. They are already in the Journey 4H Club and began volunteering at Lunches of Love in December. “Being involved just feels good,” said Amanda. “Volunteering gives you a sense of pride.”

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