Fundraiser held fol­low­ing Los Com­padres Christ­mas fire

Money be­ing raised to help em­ploy­ees of shut­tered busi­nesses

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

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.

STAFF PHOTOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

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.

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