What began as an idea to help people in need has become an annual event that provides a Christmas dinner for hundreds of low-income families in Detroit.
Elías Gutiérrez, editor of Latino Press, told us how this initiative emerged: “We started eleven years ago. At that time, we gave out toys for the children and visited houses that we had already seen where there were many children.”
He states that the idea took a new direction when he once arrived at an apartment where the lady told him: I don’t have gas, I don’t have electricity. I have five children and we have nothing to eat. “At that moment, I kept the toys in my hand and wondered: what do I do with these toys?” he said. “That’s why the following year, I started convincing a lot of people to become sponsors.”
Elías emphasizes that our community needs much more than toys since many poor people need help, especially when winter comes. “When winter comes, many are jobless, so a food basket means to them like a month of basic foods.”
“In the end, it is a blessing for us to do this. When we have Christmas with our families, we put the plate of food on the table and understand that there are two hundred families doing the same. We thank God and feel very blessed to be able to do it, that’s why we keep doing it after eleven years, and we hope to do it many more.”
He says this is a service for the community from Latino Press. “I convince my clients to commit to working on this cause when they become part of my publication. Our team with Claudia and other volunteers who help us from various churches is very important. This is a large group that commits every year. I thank God for allowing me to do this,” concludes Elias.
On the other hand, Marcela Alfaro, who works as a volunteer for this initiative, mentions that the event is essential because it allows families to cook their Christmas dinners, and thus get together with their loved ones to celebrate the holidays.
Likewise, Maribel Martínez, another volunteer, recognizes that with events like this, they get to support people that are in need. They also have the assistance of volunteers who come to donate their time to help recipients.
It is the case of Diana Vargas, food basket recipient, who states: “Well, I came to collect this food that they offered us and therefore to be part of the opportunity they give us. We thank this place for providing these supplies.”
Beneficiaries are immensely grateful for the service provided. “I thank everyone involved because the food helps us a lot during the holidays. God bless you all,” concludes recipient María Cervantes.