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MANA de San Diego awards $32K+ in gift cards and relief funds for Hermanitas in need

"It makes me feel super good because recently our refrigerator broke, so we’ve been buying on the street and now my mom won't have to struggle," said one Hermanita.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — 150 Hermanitas, or little sisters, along with their mentors gathered at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park for a celebration.

"It’s a sisterhood and each sister has a mentor with a professional Latina. We love to bring the community together," Inez Gonzalez, Executive Director of MANA San Diego. 

They are all involved in the national Latina organization called MANA de San Diego. In order to help during this holiday season, they donated $26,000 in direct relief funds with help from the San Diego Foundation and McManus Charitable Foundation. They also gave 60 Hermanitas $100 grocery gift cards totaling $6,200. 

"It makes me feel super good because recently our refrigerator broke, so we’ve been buying on the street and now my mom won't have to struggle," said Hermanita, Katherine Rodriguez. 

Their goal is to make sure every Latina does not struggle by motivating them to apply and attend college.

"If you can see it, you can be it. We want them all to know they can have a thriving career and be professional," said Gonzalez. 

“They’ve given me so much self-confidence just to apply to colleges," said volunteer and former Hermanita, Leslie Lopez-Moreno.

At the end of the event, Hermanitas presented which colleges they have applied to and were awarded a sweatshirt. 

"It gives you amazing support and they actually help you. They don’t ignore you and try their best to help you," said Rodriguez. 

They plan to host a health seminar next month and also a photo shoot on Dec. 30. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported incorrect figures for the donations and has been corrected.

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