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Holiday fundraisers set to help needy Latino families

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent


While Latins United passed out its annual turkey dinner baskets on Nov. 25, 2013, to assist Latino families in having a Thanksgiving meal, a pair of other Northwest Ohio Latino non-profit organizations are planning holiday-oriented festivities in order to better help other Latino families in need at Christmas.


The Spanish-American Organization (SAO) currently is collecting non-perishable food items, toys, and clothes to help seven South Toledo families in need this holiday season. Cash donations also are being accepted. This is the twelfth year for the holiday tradition.


“It’s a wonderful feeling, because everybody is just so festive, so glad to give,” said Carmen Barbosa, SAO secretary/treasurer.  “We normally help single-parent families. We do ask for single parents, because we feel they are most in need.”


One such single-parent family has an adult son with special needs and a grandparent also living in the household. The club provides a big-ticket wrapped toy for each child and clothing, along with clothes and toiletries for the parent.


“We ask the children for what they really want and try to accommodate what they want,” explained Ms. Barbosa. “If he wants a video game, we try to get that for him—and those don’t come cheap. It’s a one-time thing. It’s a good feeling to know we’re giving them what they wish for through the year. They don’t necessarily ask for a toy. Teens will ask for art supplies, something like that. It’s what makes them happy at least once a year.”


SAO will wrap presents and prepare gift baskets at the home of Phil Barbosa, 902 Broadway, on Wed., Dec. 11, 2013, 6 p.m. SAO is looking for volunteers to help put together the gift baskets, as well as seven drivers and helpers to deliver the baskets to the homes of recipient families. Anyone attending the holiday help party also is asked to bring a dish to pass and a friend to share in the fun.


HoneyBaked Ham donates hams for each family. The Andersons provides a gift certificate for fresh fruit purchases, and Swanton Healthcare kicks in pumpkin pies.

Donation checks can be mailed to SAO at P.O. Box 329, Toledo, Ohio, 43697.


“To me and the club, it’s all about Christmas. Members invite friends—and everyone wants to come,” said Ms. Barbosa. “There’s this wonderful feeling (among everyone at the party) because they give so much. We call it a Christmas party—but it’s such a festive, giving Christmas party.”


_La Conexión, in partnership with the Latino Student Union at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) will host its first-ever holiday dinner and dance at Casa Fiesta, 1544 E. Wooster St, Bowling Green on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. The dinner runs 7-9 p.m., followed by the Latino Dance Party. The dinner includes an entrée, rice, beans, and a beverage. There will be vegetarian options available.


“We want to raise funds for the organization, but this also is an occasion to promote the organization in the community. It is also an occasion to build community and engage other Latinos with our programs and activities,” said executive director Beatriz Maya.


Tickets to the dinner are $15 and admission to the dance is one new, unwrapped toy.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by contacting La Conexión at 419.308.2328 or [email protected].


“We are collecting toys and gifts that will be distributed to children in the community before Christmas,” said Ms. Maya, who explained that toys collected will be given at a separate Christmas party being held by BG’s First Presbyterian Church on Sat., Dec. 14. “They have been registering families. We have been bringing them Latino families and interpreting for them and helping them to register. They have a breakfast and distribute the Christmas gifts.”


The partnership between the church and La Conexión is just one of several already established by the Wood County non-profit agency, which has been around for less than two years. Wood County now has 6,000 Latinos—a 40 percent jump between the 2000 and 2010 census.


“To this point, we have remained largely disconnected and invisible. Our main goal is simply to build community—not just among Latinos, but with non-Latinos across Wood County,” said Ms. Maya. “Every single event we’ve had this year have had the effect of promoting the organization and building community, getting together. I think our first, most important goal is building community.”


Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/03/13 19:17:44 -0800.




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