By: Candice Aman
Spirits were high as a surge of hope and anticipation pulsed through the air when guests began arriving at Mercado La Paloma, a bustling marketplace and economic development project in South L.A. that houses various vendors, services, and non-profits, for its 10th anniversary fundraising event on Friday.
Called “Taste of Mercado La Paloma,” the event celebrated the Mercado’s growth and impact upon the surrounding community by showcasing the best of what it has to offer: food, art, culture, and most importantly, the people that has helped to shape the project during the last decade.
“I don’t think that there’s been a plan for [the Mercado] to take 10 years to get to this point,” Bruce Saito, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the night’s Master of Ceremonies said. “It’s been a challenge all those years but this place has made an incredible impact on the community.”
As a division of the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation (ECHC), an organization that strives to achieve long-term community development, Mercado La Paloma continues to be invaluable resource for the surrounding neighborhood by providing residents the opportunities for jobs, education, and healthcare all under one roof.
Julie Gutman, Executive Director of Program for Torture Victims (PTV), a non-profit dedicated to helping torture survivors from all over the world rebuild their lives, recounted stories of doing business from unstable work environments before finally coming into the Mercado in 2001.
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