Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021
Windsor Nonprofit Groups, Business, Clubs Join Forces to Bring Toys, Food
to Spanish-Speaking Parents, Children
Nonprofit organizations, businesses, service agencies, clubs and local leaders joined forces in Windsor to bring food, gift cards and toys to Spanish-speaking families in town, many of them with parents employed in the local agriculture industry.
Dia de los Muertos Windsor hosted a private gift distribution for the parents Tuesday at the Windsor Methodist Church, which donated space for the event. At the distribution, parents chose toys from tables with gifts sorted by age, and had the option to wrap the gifts themselves.
“We as parents know our children best. We know what they like, and whether they need a gender-neutral gift” explained community banker and Dia de los Muertos Windsor Board President Angelica Núñez, one of the event organizers.
Parents were encouraged to wrap and give the toys to their children as surprise family gifts, rather than items from a charity event. Wrap, bows and gift tags were available for parents at the distribution. Each family also received a bag to fill with miscellaneous stocking stuffers. No photos of the parents or children were allowed during the distribution.
“We don’t want anyone to feel like their children have to have their photos taken at a charity event, where they might be identified in the community” Nuñez said. “Most all of us volunteering on this project come from a background where we know what that’s like. We genuinely want to serve our community with dignity.”
In addition to Christmas gifts, families received a box of seasonal produce from the Windsor Service Alliance, and, if needed, diapers donated by the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Many Windsor community members came together to make the distribution happen. Local businesses including Windsor Beauty Salon, El Gallo Negro, First Class Barbershop, and Walmart offered to host toy collection bins – all of which were filled. Walmart also donated a large quantity of new toys and board games to the effort. Local community members donated varied amounts to the efforts.
A local business-person, who wanted to remain anonymous, stepped forward with a personal cash donation which allowed the group to purchase stocking stuffer gift cards and gifts for teenagers on the list. The organizers supported Windsor by purchasing gift cards at local businesses including Pages on the Green, Fruity Moto, Cravin’s Candy Emporium, Windsor Starbucks, Nail Bar, and the Windsor Walmart.
The group gathered many toy donations thanks to Raul Barragan’s Chicano Truckin’ club. The club held a car show where the admission was one unwrapped toy per entry. More than 22 Latino Lowrider and truck clubs participated in the event.
The gift and food distribution grew out of a gift drive conducted last year by the Windsor-based Chicano Truckin’ car club. For 2021, club president Barragan decided to partner with the nonprofit Dia de los Muertos Windsor organization. Barragan, the club’s president, grew up in Windsor and many club members are lifelong residents. Barragan was one of the local supporters of the 2021 November Dia de los Muertos celebration.
“Growing up, my family was looking for help during the holidays and now I want to be that helping hand. Christmas was always a time where toys meant the most, not caring how big or small the gift was. My parents, who were undocumented at the time, worked day and night just to be able to get my sisters and I a few toys. Sometimes it was hard for them so they would go to local toy drive giveaways,” Barragan said. “Now that I’m older I can see how hard it can be for less fortunate families to be able to provide toys for their children. I just became a father this past week; I wouldn't want my baby to go through a Christmas without some Christmas joy,” he explained.
Día de los Muertos Windsor was organized as a nonprofit in 2020 serve the town by creating authentic cultural events for the Latino community, said Board President, Núñez. The group stepped up to start providing diapers to the local community during Covid after leaders noticed Spanish-speaking workers experiencing hard times.
“We have the cultural awareness, understanding, and a desire to help fill the gaps,” Núñez explained, adding that the organization has an ability to provide information to the Windsor Spanish-speaking community year-round.
During the pandemic, Barragan and his Chicano Truckin’ club members began volunteering with Dia de Los Muertos Windsor to help with diaper distributions.
The club and the nonprofit are led by lifelong Windsor residents in the Latino community; leaders are already planning how to grow next year’s gift drive to serve a community that’s often unseen in the town of 28,000: the Spanish-speaking labor sector.
Organizers stressed that while the group's focus is to fill gaps and bridge language barriers within the Spanish Speaking and Labor community, it will warmly welcome any family in Windsor needing assistance.
“We understand that some families historically have not been reached by other gift events and the need is large, particularly as the lasting effects of COVID continue for some members of our community. We want to be here for them,” Núñez said. “We’re not trying to compete with any other events; we’re trying to support families who may not otherwise be served. We see it as a bonus and a win for the community.”
“As adults who came from marginalized backgrounds, we understand and we want to make this event ‘con mucho corazon’ and dignity for our community. We understand the need,” she said. “This is the community where we grew up, and we want to keep the circle going.”
For details or to be added to the 2022 gift distribution, follow the Dia de los Muertos Windsor Facebook page at facebook.com/WindsorMuertos/
MEDIA: Print resolution photos of volunteers and gifts are available.