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Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center finds a creative way to share culture through food and fundraising

The non-profit Latino art organization says it has already lost at least $30,000 due to cancelling fundraisers during pandemic.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, a non-profit Latino art organization, in the Old South End Toledo is facing an uphill battle to raise funds in the middle of the pandemic.

However, staff at the center are getting creative to be able to keep all of its programming in the next coming months.

The center and its programming is vital to the area, as one former coordinator explains.

"To educate individuals on the value and importance of the culture as well as you know the food, the language. How diverse the Latino culture is," said Anita Sanchez-Serda, the former events and marketing coordinator at the center.

The non-profit is experiencing hard times after cancelling several large fundraisers when COVID-19 hit.

According to Sanchez-Serda, the organization has already lost at least $30,000. Because of that, cuts became necessary.

"Eventually, not having that income obviously affected the positions and as an events and marketing coordinator, that was an area that we needed to pull back from. I, unfortunately, was laid off from my position," said Anita Sanchez-Serda. Sanchez-Serda is still planning to help the organization through November.

In an effort to keep all of its programming, the center has started selling Latin meals, right from "Nana's Kitchen."

"Since COVID started, we've had to basically adapt and change the way we do our programs and the way we reach people. Curbside pickup went really well when we did our pig roast fundraiser, so we decided to keep that going," said Veronica Reynaga, the culinary artist at the center. 

The meals can be ordered online and the money then goes directly back into the community.

"This programming is partnering with United Way. We educate kids and adults on the importance of eating healthy, nutritional foods. I like to teach the concept of gardening-to-table, especially to the kids," said Reynaga. 

The non-profit is planning its next fundraiser, which will be a celebration of Día de los Muertos. 

It's one of Sanchez-Serda's last projects.

"Your continued investment is just an investment back into building up the community in the South End of Toledo. So, whether it is a specific event, it's giving Tuesday - remember Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center," said Sanchez-Serda. 

You can order the Latin meals to go from Monday through Friday on the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center's website here

The meals are then ready for pick up the following Monday.

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