LULAC brings holiday cheer to families in Columbus Junction

LULAC of Columbus Junction provided food for many families in need this holiday season.

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa– The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 317 of Columbus Junction and Vegan Outreach hosted a food and gift drive through to help make the holidays a little brighter for families in Columbus Junction.

Families and children were drove through the local Econo-Mart in Columbus Junction to collect their food basket, presents, and take photos with Santa Claus.

Crystal Ambriz, president of LULAC Council 317 of Columbus Junction, said they wanted to do something for families impacted by the pandemic. “This event is not just important for us, but it’s important for our community who have
been struggling throughout the pandemic and need relief during the holidays,” said Ambriz. “It’s a blessing having community support to be able to do these types of events and make a difference for the families.”

With funding from the Columbus United Fund, The Robert and Blenda Ontiveros Family Foundation, and support from Wal-Mart of Muscatine, the drive through event was gave away gift bags for 164 children that included toys such as Legos, action figures, Hot Wheels, dolls, games, and more.

Along with the gift bags, 60 families received food baskets as part of the Vegan Food Aid Program between LULAC Iowa and Vegan Outreach to provide food aid and education to Latino communities across Iowa since June. Aracely Vazquez, the newly hired Community Advocate at the LULAC Council in Columbus Junction, has worked with Vegan Outreach to distribute the food baskets to families in the community.

“Through the distribution of food baskets and groceries at our local Econo-Mart, the Vegan Food Aid Program has provided alternative, healthy food options that not only brings relief but also educational value to our community,” said Vazquez: “The program has been well-received in the community. We are grateful for the strong generosity and support from Vegan Outreach over the year.”

Since June, the Vegan Food Aid Program in Iowa has support 446 families with regular groceries, providing an estimated 50,000 meals to Latino communities across Iowa hardest by the pandemic.