The air is getting cooler, Christmas lights and decorations are going up, and that means it’s time for Vino y Chocolate, an event that has been helping put smiles on children’s faces for over 15 years.
“We collect gifts for children. That’s primarily the purpose. It’s also a cultural, religious get together. Our intent isn’t to raise funds, but it is to gather toys,” Romaine Pacheco said, Director at the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions and one of the founders of Vino y Chocolate.
Vino y Chocolate is one of the Latina Safehouse’s signature events. The safehouse provides services to meet the needs of Latina women who have been victims of domestic violence. Sister Alicia Cuaron helped establish the Vino y Chocolate event in 1998 and has been recognized for her work in the community and was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Vino y Chocolate is a nice Christmas gathering of friends and people who want to share. That is what the spirit is all about,” Cuaron said.
This year’s Vino y Chocolate will take place at the Holy Family Parish Hall at 4380 Utica St. on Dec. 2 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event organizers are asking people to bring a wrapped gift for a child age 2-12. Besides chocolate and wine, people can expect to see cultural table settings decorated for Christmas, and food.
“Vino y Chocolate is one of the few opportunities where people can come together and just celebrate the Christmas holidays. They get to enjoy a few hours of socializing with friends and just enjoy Christmas without people hounding them for money. It is done in the celebration of giving,” Pacheco said.
Some tables will have nativity settings, kids tables, culturally relevant tables, and even a Colorado Rockies table. Last year the event drew around 150 to 175 people, according to the founders. Faces like Dora Valdez, Esther Luben and others who have been active in the community are expected to be at the event.
Toys donated at Vino y Chocolate are distributed to other locations like the Denver Inner City Parish, a non-profit that helps and serves over 20,000 people each year. To learn more about the Latina Safe House visit www.latinasafehouse.org. You can also help support the organization by donating to it online at www.latinasafehouse.org.