When the pandemic closed KC schools, this man took meals to kids. Then COVID took his life.

·2 min read

When the coronavirus pandemic closed schools, Rafael Hines tied up his shoelaces and went door to door, asking if children and families now learning from home were in need of a meal.

He recognized the food insecurities facing many families, and took it upon himself to help deliver healthy food options to youth, Hine’s family wrote.

On New Year’s Eve, after more than a year and a half spent serving the community in the throes of a pandemic, Hines, 48, contracted COVID-19 and died.

“Those who knew him will remember Rafael for his humility, kindness, simplicity, and eternal smile,” his obituary reads. “He had a natural knack for making people laugh. His pleasant personality was contagious to everyone he met.”

In 2016, Hines and his wife started a non-profit called Success Link Outreach KC, which supported underprivileged students through after school programming, mentoring, meals and tutoring.

Hines’ family recently launched a GoFundMe to help support his wife and daughter, “while they adjust to the loss of Rafael,” the fundraising page says.

“As a man of faith, he understood the calling God had on his life and devoted his career, talents and resources to working with at risk youth through his non-profit, Success Link’s after school program, summer camps, and community-based program,” reads the online fundraiser, which had raised more than $10,700 as of Tuesday.

Hines, and his wife Christine, were high school sweethearts, according to his obituary. Four months after they married in 1994, Hines suffered a traumatic injury that left him paralyzed. But in many ways, the injury “propelled” him, reads his obituary.

The Hines’, who were married for 27 years, “were called to the ministry and spent much of their time serving children and families in Kansas City,” reads the GoFundMe, which will also help pay for medical expenses accrued when he was hospitalized.

Since the pandemic began, more than 292,500 have been infected with the virus. Hines is among the more than 3,555 who have died.

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