Pictured above is Lucy, winner of 2020 Chihuahua fashion show.
This year’s Cinco de Mayo Festival, like so many other events, felt the effects of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, changing from a large, day-long gathering and celebration to a series of mini, virtual events and celebrations. Thanks to the students and teachers of Sonia Sotomayor, Keloland TV, and our many community sponsors and partners, we were able to enjoy some of the rich cultural traditions the holiday brings: food, music and Chihuahuas. We hope to resume the festival next year and see an even bigger turnout of vendors, participants, and performers. ¡Que viva Cinco de Mayo!
~April Ross, director of Caminando Juntos
The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is Caminando Juntos’ main source of fundraising for the year and helps keep the ministry running. Caminando Juntos is working creatively to continue to serve the Hispanic community during this pandemic in new ways. They quickly set up an emergency hotline number for high priority needs, such as food and housing assistance when they were not working in the office. Clients filled out necessary applications via phone for food, hygiene products, and diapers delivered to their door. They have kept the Hispanic population informed by posting daily updates and information on the ministry’s Facebook page regarding available community resources. The ESL teachers and volunteers did an excellent job staying connected to their students and offered English classes online via Zoom. The support team has now transitioned back into the office and is trying to work into a new normal. Our ministry will continue to welcome and journey with the people and working through new challenges of how this can be done, as physical distancing practices continue. Clients are being seen via Zoom when possible and by in person appointments only when necessary.
We are grateful that we were still able to celebrate the Latino cultures among us with the virtual Cinco De Mayo Fiesta. One of our amazing volunteers stepped up and created videos and went on our local TV station to share cooking segments and history with the community. We also highlighted an online Chihuahua fashion show and had 12 individuals send in photos of their dogs, with Lucy being our featured winner! Many local restaurants were highlighted throughout the week, promoting ways people could order and enjoy their food curbside. Overall, the celebration was beautiful, connections and awareness of the ministry were shared and it was a great success! We are looking forward to next year, hopefully in person!