By 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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813-634-7136.