Numerous Madison Latino agencies are partnering to provide relief and financial resources to assist Hurricane Harvey victims in the Houston/Southeast Texas area. Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County and UNIDOS announced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that they will be partnering with Wisconsin Financial Services, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, the Latino Education Council and other community organizations and businesses to raise $10,000 by Sept. 20.

“I know there is a lot of help going to Texas but there are folks in our communities, folks without documentation, who are afraid to go and to ask for help,” Baltazar de Anda-Santana, director of Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County, said at the opening of the press conference at UNIDOS headquarters in Fitchburg. “We thought it was important for us to come together for the Latinx community so we can support one of the centers that are doing a great job down there.”

“The hurricane in Texas left many, many people without a home and dislocated from many other services in the community,” added Veronica Lazo, executive director of UNIDOS. “So, we are here today asking for your support and we are partnering with an organization in Texas that serves a large number of Latinos and immigrants. We really help you can join us to support these victims of this hurricane.”

Veronica Lazo, executive director of UNIDOS. talks about the need to help the Hurricane Harvey victims.

The Madison-area agencies have established a connection with the Community Family Centers Organization of Houston, Texas, an organization that is working directly with families in devastated areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Community Family Centers serves a large Latinx and immigrant population.

“We are very grateful for Orgullo Latinx for reaching out to us in such a dire moment when our Latino community and immigrant community has suffered a lot of losses,” Community Family Centers’ President/CEO Maritza Guerrero said at the press conference over speakerphone from Houston, Texas. “It’s heartbreaking to go and see a family and to see all of the destruction. Everything is out in the street because they have nothing else. It just brings to light the hardship on top of other hardships that our community has had.”

Many of these individuals affected by the flooding in the Houston area are coming to seek assistance at the Community Family Centers Organization instead of going through local or state agencies. “We are particularly in east-end Houston. We serve the Latino community and anybody that comes through our doors,” Guerrero said of Community Family Centers. “We appreciate Orgullo Latinx reaching out and wanting to do a fundraiser for us to be able to help these families who don’t have a place to go. These are families that are many times unseen, unheard and living in the shadows. We want to be able to support them to rebuild and to bring their lives back together.”

Jessica Cavazos, president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County (LCC), said that Latinos here in Wisconsin have originated from Texas. “Many of us came as small children to Wisconsin and made our home here and are now successful business owners and a community that really cares about our home and our family members back in Texas,” Cavazos said. “I’m requesting our business community to really get involved and to really pull at your heart strings and be benevolent in your giving. Eighty-five percent of the homeowners in Texas do not have flood insurance … Texas is in a very destitute moment right now and we really need for our business community here in Dane County to show Texas that we really care about them.”

Jessica Cavazos, president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County (LCC), speaks at the press conference.

Alicia Navarrete, the founder, president and CEO at Wisconsin Financial Services, Inc., said that Texas is also her home state and is still in her heart. “My friends and family, my heart hurts for each and every one of you. For this reason, Wisconsin Financial Services is committed to matching dollar for dollar each donation made up to $5,000. I’m reaching out to each and every one of you to give up a meal out this week or to give up a luxury that we afford ourselves without a second thought to donate to this cause,” she said. “I urge each and every business in our community to donate today. We need your support. Today, they are reaching out to us … tomorrow, we may be reaching out to them. So, please keep that in mind. Every donation – no matter how big or how small – is important and will make a significant difference in our effort to raise money for this cause.”

The goal for the fundraiser is to raise $10,000 by Sept. 20. The raised funds will go directly to support the Community Family Centers’ efforts and work with the families affected by Hurricane Harvey. Wisconsin Financial Services has committed to matching dollar for dollar each donation up to $5,000.

If you are interested in assist Hurricane Harvey victims in the Houston/Southeast Texas area, click here.

For more information about this fundraiser, call Veronica Figueroa-Velez, executive director of UNIDOS, (608)256-9195, ext 102. You can write a check to UNIDOS with memo: Texas Relief Fund. Send or drop check at UNIDOS at 2875 Fish Hatchery Rd., Fitchburg, WI 53713.