El Amanecer - July, 2018
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The Official Newsletter of the
Spanish American Center

Volume III Issue 7
News and notes from Neddy-

Dear friends, family and colleagues,

As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of our great country, I have prepared this letter with a full heart, happy that we live in such a warm and supportive community, but still concerned that there are so many families who continue to struggle to keep up with basic needs - a home, a secure job, adequate food, health care and social connectedness - all conditions that we at SAC address on a daily basis. Due to the dedication of our staff, volunteers and board, and in partnership with our generous donors and funders, we will continue to be here to help whomever we can - because we know hunger and poverty don't go on vacation!

Highlights of the past month's activities at the Center include:
  • SNAP challenge & SAC food pantry help with Rep. Natalie Higgins.
  • Summer meal sites have begun, bringing breakfast and lunch to children at 11 programs throughout the region.
  • Staff changes in our own Food Pantry -Ann Bissonnette.
  • Wonderful community fund raising from groups such as the MNA Union nurses at Leominster Hospital and our new friends at Dining For Hunger. Thank you so much!
  • Leominster Public Library's Citizenship Corner reached out to our clients
  • Plans are well underway for SA.C's Annual Block Party on Saturday, August 4th.
  • Enterprise Bank Recognized SAC in their "Celebration of Excellence" Award program.
  • Our Annual Fund Direct mail campaign letters went out in mid-June and we have already had amazing responses!
  • Our popular ESL (English as a Second Language) program held it's graduation on June 30th! We congratulate our program graduates and urge them to continue their progress with new English skills.
  • Our Board of Directors has participated in development and improvement strategies and had an evening retreat facilitated with our consultant Rick Blain and Associates.

In closing, I wish everyone a happy, healthy and reflective Fourth of July and look forward to seeing you at the Block Party in August!


Leominster's Ann Bissonnette joins staff of Spanish American Center
Our seasoned Board Member, Ann Bissonnette has shifted her roles at SAC! She is now a member of the SAC staff - as coordinator of our very busy food pantry! But hold on, Ann will continue on our Advisory Board, as a consulting and non-voting member. We are also fortunate to have her contacts and expertise as an active volunteer on our Events Committee! So, watch for Ann in her very visible role at our community food pantry. Welcome, again, Ann!
The SNAP Challenge and SAC Food Pantry
When we got a Facebook note indicating that our State Representative Natalie Higgins (D)- Leominster, had accepted the "SNAP" Challenge from her fellow legislator at the Massachusetts House of Representatives, we at SAC reached out to her, asking if she would help us get the word out about how FOOD PANTRIES can fill a vital role in assisting SNAP recipients with supplemental food and household items. Rep. Higgins held true to the challenge - which dares participants to survive for one week only on the allotted funds from SNAP benefit . Rep. Higgins visited the Center, along with folks from the local press, Ginny's, and the Worcester County Food Bank.
"Now, I was only living on SNAP benefits for five days, and SNAP provides food-purchasing assistance for 770,000 Mass residents (1 in 9 people), serving as the first line of defense against hunger. SNAP offsets the cost of food so that families can better afford to pay for rent, utilities, healthcare, childcare and transportation. It’s a vital resource and, without it, many would have to make difficult choices between food and other necessities. And unfortunately, it’s not always enough.
There are many groups that support food insecure individuals and families, starting with our local food pantries.  Ginny's Helping Hands and Food Pantry  and  The Spanish American Center, Inc .  work together with a number of other organizations including local churches to create a second level of support. 
We had trouble getting the recommended servings of fruits and veggies on the budget. The Healthy Incentives Program allows SNAP recipients to purchase fresh produce at local farmers' markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) farm share programs. In Leominster, the Saturday Farmers' Market has a HIP retailer." Rep. Natalie Higgins stated about her experience with the SNAP Challenge.
In the photo above, Rep. Higgins reviews the contents of a typical package offered to a family of two who present at the Spanish American Center food pantry. Our food bank is filled by generous private donations, Worcester County Food Bank, etc. Since last year, following influx of families who came to North Central Massachusetts following hurricane Maria, utilization of the Food Pantry has increased over 300%!
The Spanish American Center works closely with families to assist them with their food assistance needs --ensuring that the pantry is utilized in a fair and equitable manner so that we can appropriately assist all in need. We thank our donors, press partners, agency volunteers and especially Rep. Natalie Higgins for joining with us to illustrate the challenges of living on fixed SNAP benefits!
These are the SUMMER Programs for whom the Spanish American Center is preparing, and delivering breakfast and lunch: Allencrest, Boys & Girls Club of Gardner, Cleghorn -UNF, First Church of God, MOC, Green Acres, Mt. Wachusett CC, Olde English Village Gardner, Riverside Village,Silverleaf Terrace, SAC, Tae Kwondo Leominster. Hunger does not go on vacation!
Our annual appeal is underway! We have had a very encouraging initial response due to a fabulous donation of $2,000 from the incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family. As with his previous donations to the Center (designated for resources targeting displaced families from Puerto Rico), this gift will be utilized for services in this area! Muchas Gracias to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family for your continued generosity in Massachusetts. ( Photo - Lin-Manuel Miranda )
We still have a long way to go, so, if YOU want to help us reach our goal it is not too late. If you click HERE , you will be directed to our Annual Appeal page with donation instructions - or click on the button above.
SAC Honored at Enterprise Bank's Celebration of Excellence, 2018
Above: Enterprise Bank's Lisa Hall presents Neddy Latimer, Executive Director at SAC with recognition of Excellence Award for 2018.
Thank you Enterprise Bank of Leominster!
Thanking Dining For Hunger!
The rain, wind and local street flooding in Leominster did not dampen the appetites or enthusiasm of those who attended the fabulous Dining For Hunger evening to end hunger on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at the Leominster Eagles Hall. There were incredible raffles, music and outstanding special menus prepared by local chefs who seek to use food from local surplus and donated sources. We want to thank everyone and we reached out to Dining For Hunger's founder, Mr. Bruce Coulter for help in identifying everyone. His response alone is an indication of the caring , supportive and unified community we have:

"Here are a few names: Tracy Sladen, David Ferrante, Michael Della Monaca, Jason and Nicole Pare and myself. We're the board members; I'm the founder of DFH. The list is long: Pamela Davis, of Twin City Hannaford, Mike Cooley, of The Monument Tap, Nathan Miley of Atlantic Tent Rental, WPKZ, Dean Mazzarella, Sue Chalifoux, Brandon Robbins, the Spanish American Center, state Sen. Dean Tran, state Rep. Natalie Higgins, Congressman James McGovern and staff, Jerry Caruso, Paul Durrance and Bob Sheehy. Chefs Rodrigo Comeketo, Steve Sprague, and Ryan Richard, and Lance Perkins of Old Glory Millworks, and all those who donated items, cash or bought tickets. That's the short list." - Bruce Coulter, Dining For Hunger
Leominster Hospital's MNA - FOOD DRIVE!
Thanks to the good union nurses at MNA LH -
Sandy Ellis, (MNA), Hélene Houle, RN, Iris Brodeur, RN, Joan Maillet, RN, Maryellen Thompson, RN!
Mark your calendars! Our Block Party Committee has been hard at work coordinating Summer's best event. On Saturday morning and afternoon, August 4, 2018 at Spanish American Center, 112 Spruce Street, Leominster, we will fiesta for fun, dancing, raffles and FREE food for all. We welcome everyone of all backgrounds to join in the festivities. We will have live music by the fabulous "Los Soñadores". This "Fun(d)" raiser is an opportunity for our entire community to come together and celebrate the best of our Spanish heritage. It also gives us the opportunity to thank our neighbors in Leominster for the fabulous support shown to SAC all year!

So . . . bring your dancing shoes, your smiles (and your checkbooks - donations not required but always appreciated ). Enjoy the day and the pleasure of each other's company in the spirit of our Spanish American summertime fun!
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Spanish American Center
112 Spruce Street, Leominster, MA 01453
For more information or to SPONSOR YOUR AD for our event program CLICK HERE , or contact:
Mickey Guzman 978-534-3145
See you there!
Citizenship Corner at the
Leominster Public Library
🇺🇸️Did you know that the Leominster Library now has a Citizenship Corner? Our Citizenship Corner has information on passing the U.S. Citizenship exam as well as information on learning English! Don't forget, we also have a Citizenship Kit that you can check out from our Information Desk with a valid C/W MARS library card 🇺🇸️
Have questions? Call us at 978-534-7522, ext 3
Cassandra Hall
Leominster Public Library
978-534-7522, ext 13 1

Serving our community - for over 50 years!
SAC thanks our July, 2018 Media Sponsor
Heywood Healthcare!