"It was a great event," said VCRC President Chris Calabrese. "But I think we've outgrown Garin. We might have to find a bigger location for next year."
The event included a sumptuous feast of Mexican food, performances by the Ballet Folklorico, traditional dances including the Mexican Hat Dance, the breaking of a pinata and a row of tables with games, information and activities. Santa was on hand as well, visiting with children of all ages and hearing their wishes for Christmas.
Perhaps fittingly, the traditional search for shelter played out at the event mirrors the VCRC's own wish: a new building to call home. In addition to spreading holiday cheer, the Posada event raised about $3,500 for the center's building fund, which Calabrese hopes will at least double the 700 square feet in the current location.
Roughly $34,000 has been raised so far, representing just the start of the effort to garner donations of $500,000 for the new center, Calabrese said. The city has promised matching funds, and made a piece of city property available for the new center's construction on Sycamore Avenue. Calabrese said additional fundraisers would be scheduled. He added that grant writers and a possible capital campaign will hopefully add to the coffers in the coming months as the major effort gets under way.
The VCRC provides after-school programs, parenting education and health services to "empower and improve the quality of life of disadvantaged children and their families in a culturally sensitive environment," according to the group's mission statement. Translation services, assistance in filling out forms and even food distribution are also part of VCRC's activities.
For more information on VCRC, visit www.communityresourcecenter.homestead.com.