This holiday season YAYA was again invited to be part of Fellsmere’s Christmas Posada organized by the Farmworkers Association of Florida (FWAF). Cristina Berrios, Nico Gumbs, and Ileana Roque Gonzalez made their way to Fellsmere Saturday December 20th to spend an evening with the community, share information about the Campesinos’ Gardens, enjoy some wonderful food and give toys to the local kids.
The tradition of posadas is an important part of the Christmas season in Mexico and one that dates back 400 years. YAYA representatives arrived early to help FWAF leader Yolanda Gomez and other members of the community but found that the whole place was beautifully decorated with a Christmas tree and colorful decorated tables. YAYAs helped gathering the piñatas, places the donated toys under the Christmas tree, and arranging the food in preparation for the families to arrive. The families started arriving shortly after 6:00pm and
were greeted with a cup of delicious, fragrant, and warm ponche (Mexican Christmas punch) or champurrado (a chocolate-based warm and thick drink). Community members prepared a delightful pre-Columbian soup called pozole, vegetables, corn chips and incredible tamales. After the meal kids were taken outside to play and allow for a raffle to take place and at this point Yolanda spoke to the adults about the Campesinos’ Gardens. Farmworkers work extremely hard and often under very difficult conditions collecting the food that is later sold at supermarkets for us to consume. Sadly for farmworkers, the food they work so arduously day in and day out to pick for us is expensive and out of reach. These community gardens, founded in 2010, were created to promote sustainable agriculture and to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to farmworkers and their families.
Following the talk and raffle, the kids came inside super excited and ready to receive the presents! Kids formed lines and more than 120 presents were giving to happy, smiling faces. Beautifully decorated piñatas filled with candy and toys were ready to be wrecked and emptied of all the goodies hidden inside after the distributions of toys. It was so great to see little ones from babies a few months old to teenagers being part of such a wonderful event.
The Fellsmere’s Christmas Posada was another example of the collaborating relationship YAYA and FWAF share. The toys for the Posada were donated by individuals and local business. In addition, the toys collected gave YAYA members the opportunity to get together to wrap them days before the event. It was a great opportunity to get to know the people of the community and the FWAF representatives in Fellsmere, FL. For me, I got to try some delicious Mexican dishes for the first time and meet some wonderful people. The parents were grateful and appreciative for YAYA being there and for the toys. Thank you to all that donated toys, for their invaluable time, and commitment to farmworkers and the community. Until next year!
We would like to thank all of our community partners for making this event a yearly success for the thousands of farm worker families – the Central Florida Central Labor Council (CLC) of the AFLCIO, the Central Florida chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, Timber Creek High School, Full Sail, Wendy Doromal’s Service Learning courses at Timber Creek High School, and Ali Castro with her donations of books and school supplies! Without you all we wouldn’t have collected over 300 toys and hundreds of books!
Ileana Roque Gonzalez