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Wells Fargo donates $15,000 to Neighborhood House

December 14, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Philanthropists donated lavishly wrapped presents for the homeless women and children of Casa Villanueva and the Wells Fargo Foundation handed over a $15,000 check to the Calexico Neighborhood House at the fifth annual Calexico Chamber of Commerce Holiday Soiree.

For the past four years the soiree had been packed with well-dressed women who gathered at a local eatery to donate presents or money — or, in some cases both, for the Neighborhood House Casa Villanueva woman's shelter.

This year, Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, chamber executive director, invited men to take part, because, "Things were getting boring."

More than 100 people attended the soiree Thursday night. Everyone brought a present or donated to the shelter.

"Some women forget how lucky they are — all those whiners. That's why we're here," Carrillo-Rivera said.

Those who couldn't make it still found a way to donate, she added.

One of the highlights of the night was the presentation of a $15,000 check from Calexico's Wells Fargo Branch Manager Lydia Carrillo to Neighborhood House board member Elena Cañez.


Carrillo suggested the donation to Wells Fargo Foundation Vice President Dean Thorp.

Ricardo Ortega, Neighborhood House director, said the $15,000 will be spent on food for the non-profit charity's emergency services program.

The program allows Neighborhood House to give out baskets of food to needy families all year.

Ortega said the pile of presents collected at the soiree will be placed under the tree at Casa Villanueva.

"The women and kids should be able to open them up on Christmas," he said.

This holiday season 10 women and 10 children are staying in the two-story home that serves as the shelter. The house has 24 beds.

Neighborhood House will be able to house more women and children in the Villanueva shelter after it is moved to a new location on Heber Avenue.

"We are probably closing escrow tomorrow on the vacant lot next to the Women's Improvement Club, plus the 10 units of the Don Juan Motel annex on Heber Avenue," Ortega said.

After everything clears escrow, the Neighborhood House board will begin to draft plans for the future shelter and figure out costs.

Once the costs have been determined Neighborhood House will seek donations to finance the expansion.

Ortega said an ideal shelter would allow the women to each have their own space.

Right now women and children from different families share bathrooms and rooms.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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