The Official Newsletter of the
August, 2017
"Sirviendo Nuestra Comunidad"
Serving Our Community
. . . for over fifty years!
Mayor Dean Mazzarella
  Happy 50th anniversary to the Spanish-American Center 

an  EDITORIAL, by Mayor Dean Mazzarella, published in the Leominster Champion

Fifty years is a long time. Especially for an organization helping people every single day. Aug. 5 is the Spanish-American Center’s annual block party, and as usual it promises to be a whole lot of fun with entertainment and plenty of food and activities. The center was started 50 years ago by Catholic clergy as a way to reach out to the needs of the Spanish community. I’m sure those founding members probably couldn’t imagine what the center would bring to the East Side, the city, and all its residents — not just Spanish-speaking.

If you haven’t been to the Spanish-American Center at 112 Spruce St., you should stop by. A home converted to office space, a community center and kitchen, the center serves Leominster’s 15,000 Spanish residents with every possible activity and meets every need. Programs include an information and referral service, ESL and civic classes, peer leadership training, a food program through the homeless and community food pantry, a legal clinic, elderly outreach through their Senior Advocate Program, battered women and children counseling and homelessness referral. And that’s just at the center!

Neddy Latimer, one of the nicest people I have ever met, not only has kind words and a smile for everyone but is a tremendous leader — always with her ear to the ground to find out gaps in services or individual needs in the community. Neddy and her staff have brought the center to new heights through expanding the children’s breakfast and lunch program to offsite locations in Leominster, Fitchburg and Gardner. The center is so active in the community, participating in our strolls, spring clean up, and partnering with organizations like Riverside Village where they provided catering for the complex’s 55th anniversary just a few months ago. And always looking toward the bigger picture, trips to the State House and calls to legislators are just another way the Spanish-American Center serves as an incredible advocate for our community.

The Spanish-American Center is currently undertaking a strategic plan to meet the needs of future generations and ensure that the center remains strong. I have no doubt that with the leadership and energy of everyone at the center, Leominster will continue to have a tremendous partner for years to come.

To Neddy, Micky and the staff at the center, thank you for being unwavering advocates for not just those in our Spanish-speaking community, but for all our residents. Your celebration of diversity and work toward addressing challenges from the smallest to the largest has made Leominster a better place. Congratulations on 50 years!

Originally published in the Leominster Champion, July, 13, 2017

McGovern spotlights meals program run by Leominster's Spanish American Center
SAC Staff at Riverside Apartments with Congressman McGovern

 Photo Above - Congressman Jim McGovern joins Spanish American Center volunteers at the Riverside Village Apartments Friday to highlight the USDA's Summer Food Service Program. From left are Juanita Fernandez, Ana Rodriguez, Christina Gonzalez, SAC Center Director Neddy Latimer and Silvia Taurino. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green 

          "LEOMINSTER -- In the hour before U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern was set to hold a roundtable discussion with state and local leaders on summer food programs, he visited with the local residents most at risk of going hungry in the summer. 

"I remind people all the time, the kids are 100 percent of our future and we need to do right by them," he said. "During the school year kids have access to breakfast and lunch but during the summer it can be a little more challenging." 

     It's because of this challenge that Leominster's Spanish American Center has been providing free meals to children during the summer months for more than a decade now. 

     The visit was just the first stop on the congressman's annual Summer Food Rocks Tour intended to highlight the U.S. Department of Agriculture's national Summer Food Service program and the positive impact it has on area families. 

     As McGovern explained, awareness of the program has become especially important as federal funding used to feed local children is currently at risk. 

"I worry because in Washington making sure that summer feeding programs are funded is always a struggle, and not only that, but the Republicans have just released their budget and they're proposing cuts to SNAP of up to $110 billion," he said. "(These summer food programs are) the kind of stuff governments should be promoting.

If this didn't exist there would be kids in this room who would be going without food right now." 

     Spanish American Center Director Neddy Latimer said the center coordinates meal programs in and around Leominster over a five- to six-week time span every summer. 

"This is very important. Altogether right now, with all the sites we sponsor, we help close to 900 kids a day," she said." - Excerpt from

Sentinel & Enterprise, July 22, 2017 by Peter Jasinski, S&E


News and Notes from Neddy -
Reflections on the Center’s first 50 Years

I became the Executive Director of the Spanish American Center in
the late 1980's.When I accepted the position I thought I would not be around for as long as I have been.

Through the years I have witnessed setbacks and progress. I am very proud of our successes in the years I have been here.  

My dream was to someday acquire our own building and build a 
commercial kitchen. Today, I am honored to say that goal has been accomplished. With the help of an anonymous donor, my dream came true! With these kitchen facilities,( named in memory of our dear friend and mentor, David L. Higgins, Jr.), we have been able to feed children and adults in times of great need.

During my time as Executive Director, the Center expanded  existing programs and, seeing the needs of a growing Latino population, added new programs.
After 50 years, the Center still remains very strong because of the commitment of the staff, board members, volunteers, and the many supporters that have 

As I reflect today, the Information and Referral and Outreach programs were the only  services that existed in the early 80's. 

The 90's became very successful with the help of colleagues like Barbara Silva, our beloved friend and grant writer at that time. With her guidance, the Center applied for many grants and we were fortunate to have received them all. 

Today, as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, I want to thank everyone that has helped our 
agency grow, keeping us stronger than ever!

With the support of this wonderful community, the Center will remain here for years to come.
 Neddy Latimer
  August, 2017

     In July, the Spanish American Center was contacted by the Fitchburg Art Museum and notified that we have been selected for their annual Family Membership Grant program enabling 50 families affiliated with SAC to receive free, year-long  family memberships to the museum!

     Read more about this wonderful opportunity for your family and how to sign up for  membership here, or call SAC  at 978-534-3145 or the FAM at 978-345-4207 and ask for Ms. Jessie  Olson.

 The Spanish American Center thanks the Fitchburg Art Museum for choosing us!


     Funded by a  grant from Massachusetts Office of The Attorney General, SAC has begun training teen peer health educators who will provide supervised health  education with a focus on communication, improving basic nutrition, gaining support and increasing a sense of inclusion and safety. These "Healthy Summer Jobs" will provide temporary employment for five youth at SAC!

     To kick off this latest service, the Center greeted Attorney General Maura Healey at a special welcome breakfast here on Wednesday, July 19, 2017! AG Healey (D-Mass), has devoted much of her tenure ensuring that the rights of all residents of Massachusetts are protected. 

     In Photo on Right Attorney General Maura Healy, SAC Director Neddy Latimer and Healthy Summer Jobs employee at SAC, Elianna Rodriguez.

Read more about this program and about Attorney General Healey's visit, including a short video of her remarks and photos of the morning by clicking here!





y 7 DE SEPTIEMBRE (medio día)

     Se comunica a los compatriotas que el día 6 de septiembre del 2017, se realizará un Consulado Móvil en el Spanish American Center, ubicado en 112 Spruce St, Leominster, MA 01453.

     The mobile Uruguayan Consulate will be hosted at the Leominster Spanish American Center on September 6, 2017, and for a half-day on September 7.

More details here/aqui:

 Call 978-534-3145 ask for Nicolas Formaggia, ext 119, or Silvia Taurino, Volunteer for more details.

SAC Awarded $2,500 from Fund to End  Hunger

     WORCESTER - The Greater Worcester Community Foundation awarded more than $50,000 Monday, July 17, 2017 to 19 organizations involved with the effort to end hunger in the county. The money was distributed through the Worcester County Food Bank’s Fund to End Hunger.

     “Many of the best approaches to addressing hunger arise from local communities and organizations working together,” said Jean McMurray, executive director of the Worcester County Food Bank. “We’re excited that the fund is a meaningful resource to the efforts of many community partners,” she said.

     The nonprofit organizations are:

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester - $2,500

Catholic Charities Worcester County - $3,000

Centro Inc. - $2,200

Community Harvest Project, Inc. - $3,000

Dismas House of Central Massachusetts - $3,000

Friendly House - $3,000

Gardner Community Action Committee, Inc. - $1,000

Gedakina Inc. - $2,500

Growing Places Garden Project, Inc. - $2,800

Jeremiah’s Inn - $3,000

Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center - $2,900

Our Father’s House, Inc. - $2,000

Rachel’s Table - $1,500

Rainbow Child Development Center - $2,840

Regional Environmental Council - $3,000

Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts - $3,000

Spanish American Center - $2,500

Webster Public Schools - $3,740

YMCA of Central Massachusetts - $3,000

The Spanish American Center extends its thanks to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation & The Worcester County Food Bank for this funding.

We are using this grant to increase our capacity in our Food Pantry , offering supplemental food items to the needy in our community. Contact Christina Gonzales at 978-534-3145 for more information.
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