The reason why he wants to help others will warm your heart.

By Nicole Bradley
Updated February 20, 2019

What would you do if you won the lottery? Buy a fancy car? A vacation home? Go on a cruise? A North Carolina man recently won big on a scratch-off ticket (and bought it on a whim, no less), and is using his winnings to pay it forward.  "When you are hungry, there is no language, just your stomach growling," Roberto tells CNN.

Image courtesy of North Carolina Education Lottery

Roberto Mendoza, native from El Salvador, worked his way up the ranks of the culinary world, having cooked for multiple U.S. presidents and A-list celebs. But that doesn’t mean it came without hard work. Roberto recalls often going to bed hungry in El Salvador and vowed one day to do everything in his power so others wouldn't have to do the same. This inspired his culinary career and desire for providing food to others.

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Roberto decided to impulse-buy a $5 scratch-off lottery ticket one day during a casual 7-Eleven run. After scratching away, he was shocked to find that he won the $250,000 prize—a 1 in 1.4 million chance. Roberto didn’t think of the luxury cars or trips he could buy—his do-good conscience immediately went to feeding the hungry, and without question.

Roberto is no stranger to helping those in need; according to CNN, he roasted 600 holiday turkeys for a homeless shelter in Charlotte. In 2013, he started building a kitchen to feed a village in the Dominican Republic, using money from his tax refund. With his lottery winnings, he’s planning on finishing the kitchen.

While $250,000 can go a long way, Roberto knows that there’s so much more to be done to help those in need.

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