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Latino families can mark holidays many ways

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa

Toledo-area Latino families will mark the holidays in a number of ways, but the Spanish American Organization (SAO), Latins United/Latinos Unidos, Club Taino, and the partnership between the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center and the Believe Center are offering those same families even more ways to celebrate.

Photos courtesy of the Believe Center

On Dec. 12, 2012, commencing at 6:00PM, SAO will host its annual Christmas gathering at the home of Phil and Lisa Barbosa where SAO is wrapping toys and clothes for over 20 children. According to SAO member Carmen Barbosa, the HoneyBaked Ham Company is donating a ham for each of the families of these children and the Andersons donated a $50 gift certificate. The public is invited to attend. “This is pot-luck so all attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share.”

The monthly First Friday event at the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, 1225 Broadway on Dec. 7, 6-9 p.m., will feature “Christmas in the Americas.” Holiday-themed Latino art, culture, and food will be available. Jennifer Moorman will be the featured artist of the month. Participants are being asked to bring canned goods or a food gift card to the event to also help the Believe Center’s Christmas basket efforts.

The Believe Center hosted A Christmas Story weekend, which started Thursday evening with a showing of the 1983 classic holiday comedy where a young boy narrates the goings-on of his 1940’s youth and his quest for Santa Claus to bring him a Red Ryder BB gun, the present he dreams of receiving above all else.

That film was followed up with a free family showing last Fri. night of the sequel A Christmas Story 2, which was released to video just a few weeks ago. The weekend would not have been complete without a Saturday a trip to Cleveland to tour the A Christmas Story House and Museum where the original film was shot on location.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Tonya Durán, executive director of the Believe Center.

The idea came about because of a couple family traditions, her daughter Juanita Durán explained. First, Christmas is a big deal in their household. In addition, the family always tries to catch A Christmas Story marathon on TV during the holiday. So the two women simply combined the recent release of the sequel with the Believe Center’s monthly free family movie night.

The holiday festivities will continue with a white elephant gift exchange Sat., Dec. 8th, 4–7p.m. at the Believe Center, 1 Aurora González Dr. As part of the tradition, each person should bring one unwrapped gift in a box. The item does not need to be purchased. Instead, it could be re-gifted from home for laughs and giggles.

In a white elephant gift exchange, participants determine in what order they will take turns choosing gifts. The first person opens a gift and the turn ends. The second person gets the choice of “stealing” any unwrapped item or choosing one from the gift pile. If the second person steals the gift from the first person, then the first person can choose a replacement gift from the pile of wrapped presents and so on.

This will be the gift exchange’s seventh year. It started as a holiday party for coaches and volunteers. Guests also are asked to bring a covered dish to share. Food donations also will be accepted for 30 Christmas baskets being prepared for those families in need.

“It’s a Christmas thing and we just want to say thank you in a way that’s for fun,” said Tonya Durán. “We’re also going to collect canned goods and make Christmas baskets. Among the football players, the kids know who’s in need. We put them on the porches so they don’t know it’s from us. We are a community and we watch out for each other.”

Ms. Durán related a story a couple years ago where on such basket donation revealed a family even lacked a refrigerator and stove to store and prepare food properly. The family’s food instead was being kept in coolers. That led to a coach and store owner teaming up to donate secondhand appliances to the family. The Believe Center staff just doesn’t want to see any families fall through the cracks at Christmas.

“In some families, mom makes just enough money that they don’t get food stamps, makes just enough money to pay bills and never has enough extra money when she needs it,” said Tonya Durán. “I’ve been there. I’ve been stuck in the middle.”

Monetary donations also will be accepted for the Believe Center to continue its youth education and sports programming on behalf of the Old South End’s children.

The Believe Center will host a New Year’s Eve dance with the band Grupo Dezeo from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are $20 per single and $40 per couple with a cash bar. A family-oriented celebration, which includes a dinner, will be held 5-8 p.m. That party will include a DJ for the kids to dance.



Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/04/12 18:38:35 -0800.




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