The Spanish American Relief group


hispanic-webMembers of the Spanish American Relief group pose for a photo during a fundraising breakfast for cancer patients and disaster relief. The event was held Aug. 4 at Divine Mercy parish hall, Vineland.

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff,

VINELAND — For the past 20 years the Spanish American Relief group has helped local Latinos with medical problems and people who are victims of natural disasters.

“We had a donation marathon for Haiti last year for the hurricane victims,” said Mildred Lopez, the new president of the group. The three-day event was held in Divine Mercy parish hall.

“We sold food and people came in and made purchases,” she said, “and some made donations without taking any food. We raised $11,000 and the money was distributed through the Catholic Relief Fund and the Red Cross.”

Lopez said her group relies solely on donations and no one gets paid. “We have 25 volunteers and I’m one, too,” she added.

A good part of its donations are raised through breakfasts and occasionally luncheons, usually held in Immaculate Conception parish hall, with all the food paid for by the volunteers, Lopez said.

“The funds are raised for the Spanish in New Jersey,” she continued, “and much of it is to help those suffering from cancer,” a disease she calls “an epidemic.”

The New Jersey organization was started in Vineland by Tommy Rodriguez, who was a resident of the city. The reigns were turned over to others when he moved back to Puerto Rico, Lopez said.

“We meet in the basement of the home owned by Manolo Vasquez,” she noted. “He owns a grocery story across the street from his house and will also donate food for our breakfasts and luncheons.”

If you want more information about the group call Lopez at 856-207-0481.