El Amanecer - The Sunrise

The Newsletter of The Spanish American Center, Inc

Summer Issue, 2021

News and notes from Neddy 

  • We re-opened the Center to the public on Tuesday June 1st. Clients will be seen by appointment only, required distance will still be maintained and masks will be required for all visitors/clients. 

  • Food Pantry has remained open throughout these trying times, operating hours 8:00-12:00, daily.

  • We greatly benefitted from a Food Drive on Saturday May 8, co-ordinated by the Board of Realtors. We thank them so much - was a great success!

  • Thank you to Brianna Kelley, Officer Cintron, and Kathy Lore for the gift cards and cash donated to assist the community with our food pantry.

  • We received a donation of office furniture such as desk chairs, office chairs and office table from AIS. Thank you Mr. Marchand.

  • The Summer Program is a go this time and we are in the process of getting everything ready. For the time being, please feel free to contact Kelimar Collazo (978-534-3145) with any questions related to this program.

  • NewVue Communities granted the Spanish American Center an award at their annual board meeting. The award was in recognition of the excellent partnership that has been developed by the two agencies throughout the years.

  • We will be hosting our annual community Block Party on August 14. Please See our poster below for more information.

  • AND . . . watch our social media pages and future issues for some BIG NEWS!

Have a safe summer everyone,


Neddy Latimer, Executive Director

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Current Job Openings at SAC

Family Support Specialist- Under the direction of Spanish American Center Executive Director and the LUK Family Support Center Coordinator, the Family Support Specialist is responsible for providing some Peer to Peer support through their lived experience for families looking for support at the Center. This is a service that involves a structured, strength-based relationship between the FSS and a parent/caregiver. The purpose of this service is to assist the family in improving the emotional and behavioral needs of all by strengthening the parent/caregiver or other concerned family member.


Recommended QualificationsExperience as a caregiver of a family member with special needs, preferably Developmental Disability, required. Bachelor’s Degree in human services related field preferred, or a minimum of five years experience working in the Human Service Field may be substituted. Minimum of two years experience working with an individual(s) to navigate the education or social service system for special needs/disabilities. Bilingual, Bicultural in Spanish required. Please submit resume to Neddy Latimer, Executive Director, Spanish American Center, neddy_latimer@spanishamericancenter.org. If questions, please contact Neddy Latimer at email address or by phone at 978-534-3145.  

Public’s generosity leads to successful Fill a Cruiser Food Drive

Leominster Champion, May, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected local food banks — more residents are now using their services, while fundraisers struggle to collect enough funds to keep up with the rising demand.

The Community Involvement Committee of the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors jumped into action to fill a cruiser and fill the shelves of local pantries. Held on Saturday. May 2 at various Market Basket locations — Athol, Leominster and Fitchburg — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the fundraiser that aims to fill local food bank shelves was a hit.

Police officers and cruisers were parked in front of the Market Basket stores. There, a few volunteers and the police officers were on hand to collect food donations as well as monetary donations — and they were quite busy.

“It’s been going great,” said Darlene Rossi, one of the volunteers and president of the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors. “This is such a giving community. It’s been incredible and we aren’t even at the busiest time of the day yet. It’s only morning.”

Nearly every shopper that left the store had a donation in their cart, which they gave to the volunteers to stuff in the cruiser.

All of the police officers and volunteers were impressed with the amount of donations that were flowing out of the store during the fundraiser.

“The feedback we’ve been getting is very positive,” said Community Involvement Chair Brieanna Kelley. “People are really being generous today. It’s great.”

The Athol High School Food Pantry in Athol, the Spanish American Center in Leominster and Our Father’s House in Fitchburg were the recipients of all the food and cash donations. Like many other local food banks and shelters these three have seen its customer base increase during the COVID pandemic.

Among the three locations, the police cruisers were filled 12 times to overflowing and more than $1,200 in monetary donations were collected. - LEOMINSTER CHAMPION

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NYPRO / Jabil Donation

We extend our sincere thanks to Jabil Corporation,

101 Union Street, Clinton, MA, 01510 for their donation of $10,000 to SAC in support of our. English as Second Language Program.


Recognizing a Grant of $50,000 from The Boston Foundation

We are delighted to acknowledge the recent award of a grant in the amount of $50,000 from The Boston Foundation! As outlined in their mission statement:

"We are one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations. More than that, we are a center of overlapping partnerships and networks—of talented, generous, thoughtful and dedicated people—working together to make life better for everyone in our region." - tBf

We, at The Spanish American Center, Inc., are honored that you have recognized our agency and the ways in which our programs make a positive impact on our community. We send our sincere thanks for this recognition and for your meaningful financial support.

Reaching Out to Elders in the Age of COVID

Through the generosity of Fallon Community Benefits Program, the Spanish American Center, in partnership with Growing Places is providing the following programming:

The design consists of a presentation on the Combat Hunger “RevvedUP kits, a effort on behalf of the UWNCM to fight hunger in North Central MA. Each kit contains one oatmeal package, one dinner entre, 3-4 canned goods to enhance the packaged meal, 3 spice packets and a recipe card. Elder participants will be provided with these packages. They will then participate in taste testing from meals prepared by Spanish American Center cooks utilizing the package entrée meals. Growing Places Director and Nutritionist will make a presentation on healthy eating (using food demonstrations) and the use of fresh produce to further enhance the meal kits. Information and materials will also be provided on SNAP and HIP, two entitlement programs that are available but have documented underutilization by eligible elders. The Spanish American Center Elders’ Program Coordinator will be available to meet one on one with residents who are seeking assistance with referrals, translations, and support. In addition, the Growing Places Director will bring their innovative “Mobile Meals” vehicle and elders will have the opportunity to select fresh produce. Our current goal, (curtailed from the original as COVID restrictions have continued longer in senior housing than we had anticipated) is to provide a minimum of 6 presentations as described above. This is not only a nutrition education and information effort, but also provides an opportunity for seniors to get outside of their apartments and engage in social activity – something that has been impossible during the height of the pandemic.  

We thank Fallon Health Plan for funding this program and we hope to have results of impact surveys to demonstrate benefits for participating elders.  


Looking for a way to support the local community in this uncertain time? Local non-profits are in need of donations to provide others with support. You can give back to THE SPANISH AMERICAN CENTER, INC. by picking up a $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bag at the Hannaford located at 118 Lancaster Street, Leominster MA. in JULY, 2021. We will receive a $1 donation for every bag sold this month. Shoppers can also support us by purchasing a bag online via Hannaford-To-Go


Spanish American Cente PARTNERS WITH


for Vaccine Clinics in MAY, 2021

SAC-CHC-COVID-Vax-Clinic-Flyer-July2021 _5_.png

Spanish American Center Receives Funding to Fight COVID -19

The MA Department of Public Health is involved in bold and aggressive efforts to help people maintain COVID safety (especially if unvaccinated) and also to reduce vaccine “hesitancy” amongst vulnerable populations. In order to do this, they are contracting with agencies in the Boston area to make grants to non-profits across the state. The Spanish American Center has received two such grants: One through Health Care for All and one through Health Resources in Action. With these grants, we are working hard to get folks vaccinated through pop up clinics at our Center and through publicizing other locations who are also running vaccination clinics. We also continue to provide hand sanitizers and masks and continue education on safety measures to avoid infection. Efforts to increase vaccination acceptance is key in our work and we are keeping abreast of innovative methods to reduce the vaccine hesitancy. - Susan O'Brien

For more information on this initiative, you can contact Sonia Rodriguez at sonia_rodriguez@spanishamericancenter.org.

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For Neddy Latimer, Executive Director of the Spanish American Center, a Promotores de Salud (Community Health Worker) Program has been a long time dream. Through the generous grants from UMass Memorial/HealthAlliance/Clinton Hospital health care system (as part of a “Determination of Need or DoN requirement), and the Heywood Health Care Fund, we are now in the early stages of starting a Promoters program.  

The goal of Promotores de Salud is to improve the delivery of healthcare to under-served Latinos by using trained community-based peers and trusted neighbors (Promotores) to bridge the gap between Latinos and healthcare providers. 

The Promotores generally perform five main roles: (1) to create a bridge between the community and healthcare providers, (2) to provide healthcare education and information in a culturally appropriate manner, (3) to assist Latinos in accessing and maintaining health services, (4) to counsel and support individuals, and (5) to advocate for the basic healthcare needs of the community. Promotores reach under-served Latinos in the community through local hospitals, health centers and health mobile health units, as well as local physicians and social service agencies. Much of their work is “home based”. Critical to the success of the intervention is the trust created between the Promotores and the community.  

By increasing access to healthcare, Promotores seek to both prevent illness as well as reduce costs to the community by preventing more serious complications through consistent care and attention.

Promotores programs were started in Latin American countries and have been adopted here in the States, especially in areas of the country with sizeable Latino populations. We are not aware of any currently in Massachusetts. 

As part of the grant from the Heywood Health Care Foundation, we are working with Growing Placing, Inc. to address food insecurity in the Greater Gardner and Winchendon area. Our Promotora in Gardner will be partnering with Growing Places staff to learn more about the nutrition concerns of Latino residents in these two communities and assist them with obtaining benefits that will improve the nutrition of their families. Our project funded by the DoN focuses on Leominster and Fitchburg and the development of a Promotores program to serve these two communities. The Center is working to foster alliances with local health care providers who serve la large Latino caseload. If the doctors are in need on follow up support for their patients out in the neighborhoods (this could be help with appointment compliance, understanding and complying with medication regimens and help with understanding their condition when explained to them in their first language of Spanish.  

If you would like more information about this program, please contact Aurea Casiano at aurea_casiano@spanishamericancenter.org. - Susan O'Brien

File of Life cards distributed to seniors in the area

LEOMINSTER – Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis paid a visit to three locations in the Twin Cities this week to drop off hundreds of new and updated File of Life cards to distribute to seniors and other community members.

The sheriff stopped by the Spanish American Center on Spruce Street and the senior centers in Fitchburg and Leominster.

File of Life are tri-fold cards that come in a plastic pocket magnetic case that can be placed on a refrigerator. They assist first responders and contain all of a person’s vital medical information, doctor contact information, current allergies, emergency contact information, and more.

“We have heard from EMT personnel that these cards can literally save lives, especially when individuals are non-responsive and when seconds really matter,” Evangelidis said. “EMTs are trained to look for these magnetic cards upon entering a home. I have one on my refrigerator at home.”

File of Life cards come in a plastic case with a magnet on the back, making it easy to put it on your refrigerator.

The updated File of Life cards also have space for COVID vaccination information including dates and manufacturer and is a good way to store your CDC issued vaccination card. According to Evangelidis, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is the first organization in the county to distribute the new cards. When all is said and done 10,000 will be distributed around Worcester County.

“We are proud to partner with Dr. Moses Dixon and Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging,” Evangelidis said. “We have been distributing these File of Life cards for weeks. We started at the vaccination sites and now at senior centers for the last month and will continue to do so for the next few months.”

Evangelidis said they will be distributing them “to every corner of the county” from Gardner to Milford, Southbridge to Leominster and Fitchburg, part of ongoing community outreach efforts by the sheriff’s office that have ramped up during the pandemic.

“We provided grocery shopping for seniors, picked up prescription medications, delivered PPE kits, distributed 40,000 pounds of organic produce grown on the farm at the jail and last December gave out over 4,000 brand new winter coats to needy folks throughout every part of our county,” Evangelidis said. “During this critical and challenging time when so many folks had to step back from helping our community due to COVID, the Sheriff’s Department and our Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association stepped up. Looking back, I believe 2020 was our finest hour. The need was greater than ever before.



We are grateful for the recent donation in the amount of $10,000 from Digital Credit Union!