On Saturday, December 22nd, Cristina and I traveled to Seville, Florida to volunteer with Alizana de Mujeres Activas (AMA) for their annual Posada. Posadas are a traditional Catholic Mexican Celebration of the Nativity. Usually, the posada takes place nine days before Christmas Eve to represent the nine days in which Joseph and Mary where searching for shelter before Mary gave birth to Jesus. Posadas are celebrated in the house of a different relative or friend on each of the nine days. The hosts of the posada represent the innkeepers, or the individuals who provide the shelter, while the guests represent Mary and Joseph. Traditionally, the guests ask three different houses for shelter, but only the third house will let them in. That is the house where the posada takes place. During the posadas people pray to the rosary and have piñatas for the children.
At this particular Posada, AMA partned with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, BB&T Bank, and other religious and community partners to make this Posada successful. Cristina and I arrived around 11AM to help set-up and display toys throughout the bank, rope off an area for children to receive toys, and place out all the gently used toys at the end of the pathway. As we did such, hundreds of families and children gathered before the Pierson Town Hall before the event began. Once we finished our tasks, Cristina and I began to hand out one ticket to each child that was present. The ticket signified that they would be able to receive a present corresponding with their age. Although it looked like there were, at least, over 200 children, Ana Laura of AMA reminded us that this was nothing compared to year’s past.
All in all, the event ran very smoothly and everyone left with a present. YAYA-NFWM was able to deliver over 90 toys, health and school kits to the event. I believe this event is important for YAYA’s mission of working in solidarity with farm workers because Seville is a highly dense migrant population. A lot of folks are unaware that Seville is the fern capital of the world and that most of the town is covered in run-down greenhouses and ferneries. For us at YAYA, we find the holiday season to be a chance we can give back to the families of the workers (of course with the help of our community partners)!
YAYA 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!