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El Campito to host third annual Taco Battle fundraiser

El Campito Child Development Center, a bilingual early childcare center in South Bend, will host its third annual Taco Battle fundraiser featuring local vendors on Tuesday.

The event will be hosted at two United Federal Credit Union locations on Ireland Rd. South Bend and Main St. in Mishawaka from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. In the evening, the event will be hosted at El Campito in South Bend from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A $10 ticket gets tacos from local vendors and the ability for attendees to vote for their favorite. The flyer for the event states that the revenue will work to “promote the educational, social and economic success of culturally diverse children and their families at El Campito.”

Two El Campito students pose with plush tacos. / Courtesy of Aleyna Mitchell.

Aleyna Mitchell, director of development and community outreach for El Campito, noted that the fundraiser will include much more than just tacos.

“The night event is great because it’s for the whole family. It’s not just … you come in, you eat, you leave … it’s a party,” Mitchell said.

The event is El Campito’s largest annual fundraiser and helps the center support its families.

“We serve [primarily] Latino families,” Mitchell said. “It’s in our nature as a bilingual center … Low-income, sometimes non-English speaking families are our main base that we provide for.”

El Campito’s curriculum is taught in both Spanish and English, and it is “the only licensed, NAEYC accredited bilingual child development center in Northern Indiana,” according to their website.

Shelley Pulaski, board member and treasurer for El Campito, stressed the financial importance of the fundraiser for the organization.

“What’s so crucial about this fundraiser for El Campito is it gives us unrestricted funds that we can spend on our institution,” Pulaski said.

The money raised in the Taco Battle will be put towards a new HVAC unit as well as other technological improvements for the almost 100-year-old facility.

“This is where the Taco Battle is so important,” Pulaski stated. “It gives us the ability to improve the [building] quality for the children … to [install] air purifiers, better Wi-Fi, all the electronics that are needed in this day and age.”

Tatiana Botero, teaching professor of Spanish at Notre Dame and El Campito board member, teaches a community-engaged learning class that gives her students the opportunity to document the immigration stories of many El Campito families.

For students who are not involved in Botero’s project, the Taco Battle gives the tri-campus the opportunity to become involved in and gain a greater awareness of the South Bend community. Students will also be able to learn more about possible volunteer opportunities with El Campito.

“I always want to encourage my students to try to break the walls of a classroom and be able to experience what’s happening in the classroom outside, not just on the campus of Notre Dame but also in the greater South Bend area,” Botero said.

Contact Caroline Mereness at cmeneres@nd.edu.