Hispanic Fiesta makes gift to Migrant Resources Council
Below is a January 14, 2020, article in the Grand Haven Tribune that references our parish.
The inaugural Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta was Sept. 28, 2019. Six months in the making, its organizers’ goal was to showcase and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the area's Hispanic community.
With 12 hours of music and dancing, a dozen food vendors and more than two dozen Mercado vendors — plus art projects and kids’ activities — the first fiesta was attended by thousands and organizers say it was enthusiastically received.
The day after the fiesta, plans began for an even bigger, better event in 2020, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26.
According to steering committee co-chairperson Reyna Masko, having a Hispanic Heritage Fiesta in Grand Haven always had a second, but equally important goal: to help the community it celebrated.
“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to be able to help people who make an important contribution to our community — our migrant farmworkers,” she said.
Ottawa County is home to one of the largest seasonal farmworker populations in Michigan, Masko said, and their work, as well as their struggles, remain unknown to a majority of the area's permanent residents. The all-volunteer committee chose to donate the funds remaining after all fiesta expenses were paid to the Migrant Resources Council (MRC) of Allegan, Ottawa and Barry Counties.
“Migrant resource councils work to improve the quality of life of Michigan’s migrant farmworkers and their families,” said MRC board member Christian Garcia, who also served on the Grand Haven fiesta's steering committee.
Garcia says MRCs are authorized by the state, but receive no public funding, and are not permitted to hold their own fundraising events. One of the activities of the local MRC every summer has been to host a carnival for the children of farmworkers.
When Garcia and three fellow board members arrived at the fiesta committee meeting on Jan. 6 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, they were greeted with a check in the amount of $4,908.36.
“This will help us provide for many children next summer, to make sure that, while their parents are working hard to harvest the food we eat, they have their basic needs met — and a little bit of summer fun, too," added MRC board secretary Kelly Cruz.
The Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta is sponsored by the Grand Haven Human Relations Commission, Ottawa County and St. John’s Episcopal Church of Grand Haven El Corazon Latino Ministry, with administrative and technical support from the city and the Greater Ottawa County United Way. Anyone interested in serving on the committee — or becoming a sponsor or vendor — can connect via Facebook ("Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta"), on the web at www.grandhavenfiesta.org, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.