HelpingImperial ValleyNews

Valley’s needy to get ‘Embrace’

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EL CENTRO — The city’s faithful and Catholic Charities plan to team up for “The Embrace” on Dec. 18, an event that gives the homeless and needy families in the region a touch of Christmas.

El Centro Catholic, which has hosted this event for the past five years, assists the homeless of Imperial County by providing free haircuts, showers, toiletries, and a hot holiday meal. In addition, the community helps needy families by giving Christmas gifts for their children.

Coordinators said they hope to hold the part of the event that serves the homeless at Catholic Charities’ El Centro Homeless Day Center on Dec. 18,  its tentative opening day. The center will be located behind the organization’s existing building on 250 W. Orange Ave.

“It doesn’t have to be fully completed but it would be a good day to introduce the homeless to the day center,” said Father Mark Edney, the pastor for ECC and a Catholic Charities’ board member.

If the day center does not open by that date, The Embrace will be held as its previous location, the St. Mary Parish Center. In that case, the event would serve both the homeless and needy families at the parish center as in years past.

The Embrace is an outgrowth of the work that El Centro Catholic’s Homeless Ministry has been doing for more than a decade by providing a weekly meal and spiritual nourishment, said Richard Enriquez, one of the event’s coordinators and the founder of the ministry.

He said ECC needs donations for The Embrace, including personal hygiene products/toiletries, new clothes, new toys for children, food gift cards, and monetary donations. All can be dropped off at St. Mary Catholic Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Monetary donations by personal check can be made out to either parish and should include “for Embrace” in the memo line.

The El Centro Catholic parishes also accept donations online at

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