Fundraiser held following Los Compadres Christmas fire
Money being raised to help employees of shuttered businesses
On the evening of Dec. 28, members of the Waldorf community came together to support the employees of two busi- nesses now closed due to a Christmas Day fire.
Early Christmas morning, a fire start- ed in Tienda y Carniceria Los Com- padres, a Latin grocery store located on Crain Highway in Waldorf. The fire spread to the adjoining business, Taqueria Los Compadres, a Latin grocery store owned by the same family.
According to a report from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, the properties sustained $400,000 in structural damages and $50,000 worth of content damages. The cause of the fire was a malfunctioning fluorescent light,
according to the fire marshal.
Owner Teresita Castillo said the grocery store is a “total loss,” and she is unsure when the restaurant will be able to reopen. Castillo said she employs 18 people who are now out of work indefinitely.
“Right now, there’s no work, so they have no income,” Cas- tillo said. “Everybody is waiting for the restaurant to reopen, which hopefully I can reopen soon, but I don’t know how long it is going to take. But the grocery store I am not going to be able to reopen.”
Marlen Coles of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Waldorf said local churches arranged to hold a fundraiser in the businesses’ parking lot to help support the workers.
“So many families were af- fected by this fire, and so now we as a community have come together to help those families who are now left without a job,” Coles said.
Coles said volunteers brought food and drinks to sell for the fundraiser.
“It’s beautiful to see all the people who have come out to support this, to help out these families,” Coles said.
Coles said close to $5,000 was raised from the event.
“It’s an incredible blessing, all the people from the community who came out and showed their support,” Coles said.
The Rev. Mario Bernal of He- bron Christian Church said he spoke with Castillo on the day of the fire and offered to try and rally the Latin community around her employees by orga- nizing the event.
“It’s beautiful to see so many people helping out,” Bernal said.
The Rev. Agustin Lopez, pa- rochial vicar of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church, said the Castillo family has been active in the church, and the congregation prayed for them and their employees during Christmas morning services.
“They have been very good parishioners, and so the mini- mum we could do was to help them out, especially for the workers who are out of work,” Lopez said. “If everyone can help just a little bit, then a lot of people will benefit.”
The evening included music, dancing, a raffle and sales of food such as tamales and drinks such as atole de pina, a hot Mexican pineapple drink.
Castillo said she is grateful to the community for reaching out to help her employees.
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to the Latin community, and to everybody, because there are a lot of people helping us, a lot of support, a lot of hugs,” Castillo said.
Volunteers sold tamales and other Latin and Mexican foods at a fundraiser to benefit the employees of a local restaurant and grocery store that burned during a fire Christmas Day.
The Rev. Mario Bernal of Hebron Christian Church speaks during a fundraiser to benefit the employees of two Waldorf businesses that burned Christmas morning.
Musicians performed Latin music during a fundraiser held Wednesday night to benefit the employees of a grocery store and restaurant that burned Christmas morning.