February News and Notes from Neddy

Dear friends -

I hope this issue of our newsletter finds you in good health,
spirit, and with hopeful anticipation for the future. At the Spanish American Center we have been celebrating the kindness of the community we share and are grateful to be able to provide services to those in need in partnership with you, our friends both new and established. As you scroll through the articles below, please know that our work could not be accomplished without the help of people like you, as well as our dedicated staff, volunteers, board members and funding sources such as United Way of North Central MA and the Central MA Agency on Aging etc.
In a few weeks I will be traveling to Puerto Rico, and will be doing some fact-finding along the way. I will share with you all in upcoming newsletters my first hand experiences as I bear witness for us all of an island of our fellow citizens who are still coping with a challenging disaster recovery.
Here, our ongoing food security programs, social programs and advocacy work continues. Our two newest staff members, Tamara Castro and Yemni Tahi Mendez have been at work assisting us with increased caseloads, helping families arriving from Puerto Rico and connecting them with services available through FEMA, etc. We were pleased that the Massachusetts Congressional delegation recently returned from Puerto Rico. One result was a local meeting with Congressman Jim McGovern, who met with local agencies and providers regarding ongoing needs of evacuees driven here by the continued challenges in the islands. (An example of the impact: Our food pantry has expanded - we have now been making 2 - 3 trips per month in order to accommodate the growing demand.)
On a very positive note, we are pleased to tell you that Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family foundation helped us have a very successful Three Kings celebration, providing toys and gifts for children and families in need. (Read more about this below, with pictures and links to his web site).
We have been helped so much by various community business and social programs including Montachusett Area Rotary Club, HealthAlliance Guild, Keller-Williams Realty, Village Mortgage Leominster, Fidelity Bank and Hannaford Markets. All have stepped up with donations, fund drives, food drives and shared concern. I continue to thank everyone for their help now and in the past.
In closing, please know that you are always welcome to come by the Center to meet our dedicated and welcoming employees and volunteers. We are eager to meet you and to assist wherever we can -- we pride ourselves in satisfying our community friends and neighbors. Have a happy February and stay warm.

With gratitude,

Neddy Latimer, Director, Spanish-American Center
Fidelity Bank Makes Donation to Spanish American Center
We wish to acknowledge the generous donation of $500 from our friends at Fidelity Bank Leominster to the Spanish American Center. ¡Muchas Gracias!
Many Thanks!
SAC is Thankful for artist Lin-Manuel Miranda
& Toys R Us ( Toys 4 Puerto Rico) donors for
our Dia De Los Reyes program!
(click the logo below for his story, videos & more)
HealthAlliance Guild Donates
to our causes! Thanks!
Hosts Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Tasting at Slattery's in Fitchburg
SAC Board member Cheryl Boissy and her husband, Jean-Pierre Boissy along with SAC's Susan O'Brien attended a sampling of wine, cheese and chocolates sponsored by the HealthAlliance Guild at the newly renovated Slattery's restaurant in Fitchburg on Tuesday evening, January 23, 2018. Proceeds of the gift raffles were donated to the Spanish American Center, along with donations of canned goods for our food pantry. Many thanks to the generous members of the HealthAlliance Guild. Photos: Cheryl & Jean Pierre Boissy, Susan O'Brien and President of HealthAlliance Guild, Leslie Storrs.


We want to thank some community friends who have been helpful to us as we work to implement our Strategic Plan. We were funded in 2016-17 by the Community Foundation of North Central MA (CFNCM)  to develop a plan and were able to do so with the expert help of Edwin Cancel , our Strategic Planning Consultant. The CFNCM funded us again in 2017-18 to begin implementation. 
During the 6 months since we began the implementation phase we have benefitted from the generosity of people outside of our Board and staff to help us progress. We want to thank the following:  Bob Burr, Director of Food Services in the Leominster School system for lending his expertise to our Food Service operation, Bob Dwyer and his brother, Ken, for helping us improve our technical capabilities; also Jean-Pierre Boissy for assisting in this area as well; Dawn Cassavant, VP of Development at Heywood Hospital , for giving invaluable “tips” on how to develop an individual donor base for the agency, Mary Scott for lending her knowledge of human resources and the law to improve our Personnel Handbook and work on our By-laws; LUK Crisis Center for “always having our back” and MOC, Inc . for working with us on a joint proposal. And, of course, special thanks to the Community Foundation of North Central MA for supporting us financially in this process.  We are making progress!!
We are the Spanish American Center, Inc.
Serving our community -- for over 50 years!