Raquel Zamora, a candidate for the district14, shared a pozole pot with the community and then heard her concerns

With a sign stuck in the trunk of his car that said "I go slowly, I carry a pot of pozole", Raquel Zamora arrived Tuesday at the parking lot of a store 99 Cents Store in Highland Park.

While her daughter slept in the back seat, she and a friend carefully removed a folding table, accommodated her, put the black tablecloth on it, and on this, two pozole pots with condiments and dishes on one side.

The pots gave off such a pleasant smell that in a matter of minutes the corner of 63rd Avenue and Garvanza Street began to fill; They were some known and curious who stopped to see what they were selling.

"It's free pozole," Zamora replied, offering a plate of traditional food on Christmas Eve.

“It was happening and I approached to see what they are giving,” said Martha Meléndez, while tasting her pozole. "It's very nice that they want to share food at Christmas."

Kathy Bolivar arrived by a bowl of pozole after finding out through social networks. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

"Besides, it's very nice if it's the way you celebrate your birthday," Bolivar added, referring to the fact that yesterday Tuesday, Zamora was on long tablecloths.

Minutes later, a homeless couple, a little doubtful of what they saw, approached the group and before asking for food they received a pleasant welcome from Zamora and a smile from the others.

"Get closer!" Zamora told them while serving the dish for each one.

"It's very good what they are doing because being homeless is very difficult," said Caroline Burgos, 61. "Sometimes we don't eat hot food for many days."

Burgos said that in her youth, she attended the Los Angeles Community College (LACC) and subsequently worked in a nursing home, but circumstances, including drug addictions, led her to end up in the street.

“I always walk around here because my mother lives nearby, but she is already very old,” said Burgos.

Raquel Zamora (left) distributed food to everyone present until the two pozole pots and a tamales tray were finished. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

She and her partner, who did not want to give her name, are partly part of the reason why Zamora decided to make free food delivery at Christmas.

For many people, Christmas can be a season of nostalgia or sadness for different reasons, either because they are alone or because they are not close to their relatives.

In the Catholic religion, this celebration has a great meaning of family reunion, as the birth of the baby Jesus is celebrated tonight.

Zamora said that from a very young age she learned to give to others without expecting anything in return. She feels fortunate to have been born in the United States, of Mexican roots.

“My grandfather raised me and he instilled in me to give to others,” said Zamora. "He died 16 years ago and we were left to continue the tradition."

Zamora said she remembers that her grandfather organized a pilgrimage every year where up to 300 people arrived; He also offered them food and punch.

"For me this is very normal," said the Boyle Heights resident.

Starting the most important conversation

On the table of the pozole and the tamales they brought shortly after, was a poster with the image of Zamora. This was a good idea to start a conversation between strangers who stopped for their food.

"I am running for district 14 of the LA council," said Zamora. "And here with a bowl of pozole we can start to talk, it's like breaking bread."

Zamora, a single mother, is running to be a councilor for the 14th district in Los Angeles. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

Among the most important issues are homelessness and constant evictions, said Armando Medina, a community leader who helped Zamora organize the food distribution.

"Here we see that housing is so expensive that a one-bedroom apartment costs you $ 1,800 or two bedrooms for $ 2,600," Medina said. "People are threatened and harassed to leave their homes and the owners rent the most expensive apartments."

Medina said that in the Highland Park community, they have identified at least 250 homeless students.

"We don't see them much because they live in motels in motels or in cars, but there they are," said the activist, who through his Facebook page is responsible for helping his community.

Beatriz Ochoa, comadre de Zamora, said that the idea of ​​running for the council is very good. She believes that the community needs someone who knows each other's problems closely and not just be recognized politicians.

"There are no local leaders and many people are not qualified for the job, nor do they have the passion that she has," Ochoa said.

Josefina López, business owner in Boyle Heights, came to Highland Park to show her support for Ochoa and said this is one of the best ways to get to know the community.

"I admire her a lot and although it will be difficult, she will be a good example for her daughter," Lopez said.

For Zamora, the most important thing is to listen first hand to the issues that affect the community and there is no better way to do it than through food.

"My grandfather always said that you never know if we are going to need something later," said the candidate, who is also a single mom and in the end, she wished all the guests, known and unknown, a merry Christmas.


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