Cristo Rey Community Center Faces Financial Trouble

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Dozens of people braved the weather Tuesday night to talk about the problems facing the Cristo Rey Community Center.

It's in financial trouble, and many fear even more programs will be cut, like Paulo Gordillo who grew up at Cristo Rey Community Center.

"Several of my aunts got married there, we've had quinceaneras there," Gordillo said. "Anything community oriented, everybody went to the center."

It's been more than a place for parties though. Cristo Rey offers vital services, like meals, healthcare, and educational programs for youth and adults. Through these economic times, many of those programs have been greatly reduced over the years.

"Now it's kind of a shadow of its former self," Gordillo said. "To see that it could possibly go away, it's like almost losing someone in the family, and that really hurts the community as a whole."

The growing concerns led Lorenzo Lopez to form Coalition for Community Empowerment. He also fears a proposed merger with St. Vincent Catholic Charities would hurt Cristo Rey's Latino foundation and its funding even further.

"We want to make sure that institutions reflect our values, reflect our culture, reflect the fact that we use two languages or more to communicate," Lopez said. "We want to provide all of the programs that we've always had."

While many are worried for the center's future, the director of marketing said he's already working hard to make sure they get the necessary funds.

"We're doing a lot of things, and it's my job to get out there and create those ties that have been either lost or create new ties," Cristo Rey Community Center Director of Marketing George Alvarado said. "Cristo Rey should be flourishing because of what we've done for this community for the past 45 years."

It's the years to come that most people are focused on though.

"It's time the community step up and say, 'What can we do to bring it back to what it was?' not for us, but for our kids," Gordillo said.

The group plans to reach out to other community centers and churches for help. Major fundraisers are also in the works.

Another golf outing is planned for this summer, and an inaugural 5-K race is schedule for August.

The group plans to keep meeting regularly to discuss fundraising ideas.

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