\David Castillo is close to reaching the elite levels of professional mixed martial arts. If Castillo, 16-4 and ranked 42nd in the world, defeats Justin Buchholz in Orem on Nov. 16 for the Showdown Lightweight MMA championship, a call from the UFC probably isn't too far off.
However, Castillo's got something else on his mind this month as well, he and his family are the energy behind a Wasatch Front-wide effort to provide Thanksgiving dinner to many needy families.
It's the Castillo family's second Thanksgiving Food Drive. Last year, working with his family, 20 Thanksgiving meals were provided.
This year, Castillo, a Bonneville High School graduate, is using gyms and businesses from Utah County to Cache County to hopefully fill trailers with meals and provide dinner to hundreds of needy families.
Helping to get the dinners to the needy will be organizations that include the Davis Family Center and the Bountiful Food Bank.
In Ogden, turkey vouchers, money, as well as food that won't spoil can be delivered to Foley's MMA, 375 31st Street, (801-628-8520). In Clearfield, donations can be made to BioFit BootCamp, 570 E. 1700 South Suite 202, (801-710-7521). In Woods Cross, donations can be dropped off at Rockwell, 1431 S. Redwood Rd., (888-214-ROCK.
Other drop-off locations include North Salt Lake, West Jordan, Sandy, Lehi and Orem. For information on the food drive, including a YouTube video, go to http://www.davidcastillomma.com
Castillo hopes that as many as 500 families can receive a Thanksgiving dinner as a result of the drive.
"It's a big goal, but I always try to shoot for the stars," says the MMA fighter, who is unbeaten in his last seven bouts.
To get to the lightweight championship, Castillo avenged a loss in his career, defeating Gordon Bell in August.
"This is a really good idea of Dave's and I'm happy to help support it," said Dave Foley, owner of Foley's MMA and boxing gym. "I appreciate being able to assist in the drive," he added.
Castillo appreciates the help in these efforts he receives from members of the community. As his pro career has progressed, he and his wife Jenny, have discussed ways to show their appreciation by helping others.
"(The drive), it's just one way ... to give back," he said, adding that he's optimistic increasing the drive will provide positive results. Besides his website, information on the drive is available on Castillo's Facebook page.