15Th annual cincy-cinco festival offers good times to benefit good causes – insider – story staphylococcus aureus images

Now celebrating its 15th year, Cincy-Cinco is known throughout Greater Cincinnati for being a good time. But what many people might not know is that the three-day celebration of Latino music, food and fun also raises thousands of dollars for good causes. “After we pay expenses, all the money, 100 percent of the money goes to organizations that do Hispanic programs,” said Alfonso Cornejo, president of the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA and the chamber’s foundation, called Hispanics Avanzando Hispanics. During the first 14 years of the festival, the foundation has given more than $400,000 to a number of local nonprofits that support the Tri-State’s Hispanic population in a variety of ways. One of those organizations is Santa Maria Community Services. Based in East Price Hill, Santa Maria has been serving residents of Cincinnati’s Price Hill communities for more than a century.


The Sisters of Charity started Santa Maria in 1897 as a settlement house for the city’s Italian immigrants. In the 1940s, the nonprofit shifted to serve Cincinnati’s new residents moving from Appalachia. Over the past two decades, a growing number of Hispanic and Latino residents have moved into the Price Hill communities so Santa Maria started serving them in 2001. The organization started receiving funds from Cincy-Cinco in 2005 and has gotten a total of $30,110 over that time, said Luz Elena Schemmel, Santa Maria’s immigrant services and wellness program director.

“After we pay expenses, all the money, 100 percent of the money goes to organizations that do Hispanic programs,” said Alfonso Cornejo, president of the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA and the chamber’s foundation, called Hispanics Avanzando Hispanics.

The Sisters of Charity started Santa Maria in 1897 as a settlement house for the city’s Italian immigrants. In the 1940s, the nonprofit shifted to serve Cincinnati’s new residents moving from Appalachia. Over the past two decades, a growing number of Hispanic and Latino residents have moved into the Price Hill communities so Santa Maria started serving them in 2001.

“We had 120 kids that received different resources and information and gifts about health-related issues,” Schemmel said after the last group of kindergarten students had left the event. “About hand washing, about proper clothing and why do you have to take care of your skin during the hot weather.”

About 50 different providers were involved in Santa Maria’s spring health fair, which was aimed at families. It included such services as mammograms, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings as well as testing for hepatitis and HIV and vision and hearing screenings.

And there will be a historical part of the event, too, with an art exhibit of 15 pictures related to the Battle of Puebla and an explanation about how Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of that battle, where the Mexican army fought and defeated a French invasion.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.