Latina Center celebrates Christmas with food, dance and giving

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On Saturday more than 300 people lined the long hallway at Barrett Avenue Christian Church to celebrate gift giving. At one end of the spectrum was a room full of children getting their faces painted, while at the other end parents sat and listened to the musical group Rondalla del Sagrado Corazon.

It seemed like there was something for everyone down the block-long hallway—from free flu shots sponsored by Walgreens, to the sale of organic health and beauty products.

And if that wasn’t enough to make folks feel happy under a winter sky, then the two-buck Guatemalan tamales and three-dollar Mexican pazole soup changed that.

But the real reason so many people showed up was Santa Claus and the handful of raffle prize giveaways.

Miriam Wong, the executive director of the Latina Center, said with the help of The San Francisco Foundation, local businesses, churches and volunteers, they were able to celebrate with the community and give away 110 food baskets and 44 blankets to those in need.

“The community has a lot of heart to help others when they can,” she said describing the $900 and canned foods they received from the community. “For me this [event] is a great blessing.”

The Latina Center, located within Barrett Avenue Christian Church, is a resource hub for the Hispanic community. They focus on domestic violence issues, leadership development, teenage self-esteem difficulties, English classes and immigration services.

“I think we should have more of this kind of event,” said Carlos Bonilla as he manned a small table selling beauty products. “That way the community can come and benefit with the information that we have.”

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