Philadelphia, PA – Friday, December 15th, nearly 200 community residents and local leaders attended the annual Parranda event hosted by Esperanza at Marz Auto Central at 4518 N. 5th Street.
The holiday-themed event is an annual tradition and a part of a series highlighting the cultural and economic assets of the neighborhood, free of charge to the public.
The event marked the official launch of the Community Anti-Poverty Project’s Action Hub (esperanza.us/action), a digital tool with support that allows community members to find their elected official’s contact information and write to them about specific issues; like LIHEAP (Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program), which provides much-needed assistance with the energy bill to low-income residents during the winter months but is not available year-round. By going to Esperanza.us/action, you can tell your legislator to make LIHEAP year-round.
In addition to energy security, the Action Hub will incorporate other issues, including food, water, housing security and the tax credits.
Gift bags included information on how to get free trees, Hope Digital Skills training, college courses, a free COVID test, and the upcoming vaccine clinic with members from Esperanza housing on-site to answer questions from residents.
Before the parranda started, Stalin Vasquez, owner of the State Farm agency located on the 5th street corridor, gave 180 plus Christmas gifts to children who came with their families. Some families brought their musical instruments
, and Esperanza gave others traditional musical instruments.
The entire pork, or lechón, was roasted, and the families enjoyed it with rice, pasta salad, beans, and meatballs. The entrainment for the night included Los Bomberos de la Calle, a local music group playing traditional Puerto Rican bomba and plena music, María del Pilar, who’s been a fixture of local Spanish radio and TV for more than 34 years, and Los Rumberos Jeep Club.
This local Puerto Rican and Dominican community group conducts holiday toy drives. Rafael Alvarez Febo, Vice President for Advocacy and Community Development at Esperanza Housing and Economic Development, said: “Events like ‘Parranda en la Cinco’ provide an opportunity for our neighborhood businesses, Esperanza staff, and local artists to share space and celebrate with the people we serve on a daily basis. It’s great to see smiling faces and families enjoying themselves.»
This article is part of the Esperanza Community Anti-Poverty Project, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, which informs and engages Latinos on key policies and programs for their social and economic well-being.
Lili Daliessio is the Community Information Manager at Esperanza Housing and Economic Development.