Salsa Festival draws 1,000 to Good Samaritan Mission

By KEVIN BRADY

Volunteers turned out en masse to ensure the festival was a success. Photo Kevin Brady

Volunteers turned out en masse to ensure the festival was a success. Photo Kevin Brady

The weather held out, at least for half of the day, but rain couldn’t quench the thirst of visitors for “All Things Salsa” March 29 in Wimauma.

A fundraiser for Good Samaritan Mission, 14920 Balm Wimauma Road, the event drew some 1,000 visitors from all over the Bay area for games, food and music.

“Our goals were to bring different people and organizations together to rub shoulders and get to know each other and provide families with a fun day, so I would say it was a success,” said Theresa Cruz, who runs the Mission with her husband, William.

The Mission hopes to make the event a must-go-to soiree on the South County entertainment calendar. The first festival was two years ago.

“We hope to make this a major fundraiser,” said Anne Madden, a Mission volunteer. “The  idea is to bring people here who have never been to the Mission before.”

Founded in 1984, the Good Samaritan Mission emphasizes education and opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, offering classes in everything from domestic violence to diabetes,  and from HIV/AIDS to gang violence — issues that have riven the local community for years, according to research by Mission leaders.

Wayne Kindt, president of the Mission’s board of directors,  has been driving from Sarasota for a decade to support Good Samaritan.

Brian Collar of Riverview with his strawberry shortcake was a popular draw at  the festival.

Brian Collar of Riverview with his strawberry shortcake was a popular draw at  the festival.

“People who come here and take classes, get a little chit for  the food pantry, and they can shop themselves,” Kindt said. “That helps preserve people’s dignity because they feel they are earning it.

“You can’t break the cycle of poverty if you don’t help people help themselves. It’s about a hand up, not a hand out,” he said.

For more information, visit the Mission website, www.gsmision.org, email gsmission1984@gmail.com or call 813-634-7136.

Students from Agape Christian School of Sarasota proved to be the salsa champions at the recent Good Samaritan Mission Family Salsa Festival in Wimauma. The team, Agape Christian Team I, included student Kyle Nilles and school principal Cindy Showalter, who won the Judges’ Choice and the People’s Choice awards. Other recipes in the competition included an entry from S&S Tacos of Ruskin and Ana’s Restaurant of Wimauma. Judges for the contest were Lynn Kessel, a local food writer and author of the Table Scraps column; Amy Polinsky of Got Moxy Personal Training; and Bill Cruz of Good Samaritan Mission. For more information on the Family Salsa Festival or Good Samaritan Mission, see the Mission website at www.gsmission.org. For more information on ACS, see its website at agapesarasota.org. Pictured above, from left: Agape Christian School Students Alexis Harbert, Christine Havens and Kyle Nilles; School Principal Cindy Showalter; and Good Samaritan Mission executive director, Bill Cruz.

Students from Agape Christian School of Sarasota proved to be the salsa champions at the recent Good Samaritan Mission Family Salsa Festival in Wimauma. The team, Agape Christian Team I, included student Kyle Nilles and school principal Cindy Showalter, who won the Judges’ Choice and the People’s Choice awards. Other recipes in the competition included an entry from S&S Tacos of Ruskin and Ana’s Restaurant of Wimauma. Judges for the contest were Lynn Kessel, a local food writer and author of the Table Scraps column; Amy Polinsky of Got Moxy Personal Training; and Bill Cruz of Good Samaritan Mission. For more information on the Family Salsa Festival or Good Samaritan Mission, see the Mission website at www.gsmission.org. For more information on ACS, see its website at agapesarasota.org. Pictured above, from left: Agape Christian School Students Alexis Harbert, Christine Havens and Kyle Nilles; School Principal Cindy Showalter; and Good Samaritan Mission executive director, Bill Cruz.

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