SAN DIEGO — Community, family, and power are all words used to describe the Chicano Federation of San Diego County.
“We feel confident when we're with them, they give us confidence. And that's, what helps us get through those hoops,” said Virginia Monterrosa.
At age 64, she has had to jump through many hoops in her life.
“At this stage of the game, we have grandchildren. Our family has grown. We're like, 'How are we going to afford Easter baskets? How are we going to afford Christmas presents?' Financially, the Chicano Federation has always been there and supported us immensely,” said Monterrosa.
Her husband, Ralph, is in his 70's and a retired shipbuilder. During the pandemic, he lost his security job.
“My husband got a job because of the Chicano Federation,” said Monterrosa.
He now works security at the DMV in Clairemont.
“Sometimes it's the little things that count more than the big things,” said Monterrosa.
It’s stories like Virginia's and Danny Hernandez's that help weave the Chicano Federation's story of community.
In 1980, the executive director of the Chicano Federation asked Hernandez to make a banner with its logo. With less than $20 he got a queen size bed sheet and paint and got to work. It now hangs at its luncheons, dinners and rallies. Danny died earlier this year, but the Federation is keeping his memory alive by sharing memory cards with his family.
Those memories were shared during the Chicano Federation's annual unity luncheon on Friday.
“We opened a brand-new resource center, that has been open up for a year, and in the year we've served over 1,000 families that come with us with various needs, whether it be they need rental assistance, or they need a connection to childcare, we're there to help the people,” said Liz Ramirez, Chicano Federation of San Diego County, CEO.
She says last year with the help of its partners the non-profit served over 50,000 families and individuals.
They implemented a new mental health resource program, and now they are working on a training institute to mentor future leaders.
“I think now more than ever, there is a need to bring more resources to our Latino community, and to advance our Latino community forward. I do think that it's up to all of us to collectively help each other because at the end of the day, if our neighbor thrives, we all thrive and our community is a better place,” said Ramirez.
A place like the Chicano Federation that puts words into action.
“Empowerment,” said Monterrosa.
More than 500 people attended the annual unity luncheon which is the Chicano Federation’s largest fundraiser of the year.
WATCH: Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration with Chicano Federation (Sept 2022):