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With power out, a North Carolina community shares tamales

San Juan Diego Mission
A member of San Juan Diego Mission helps hand out tamales for residents without electricity in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

In Moore County, North Carolina, where thousands remain without power after gunshots were fired at two electrical substations, Latino community members are helping others by preparing hot, home-cooked food.

The Rev. Javier Castrejón says the immigrant members of his congregation at the San Juan Diego Mission in Robbins are mostly low-income. But when they learned more affluent residents in nearby Pinehurst were without power, they wanted to help.

The congregants were worried about Pinehurst residents suffering in the cold weather without a warm meal.

They came up with the idea to make food, Castrejón said, and tamales were a logical option because they’re easy to transport.

In the past, Pinehurst residents have helped members of the church through donations, he said, and they wanted to pay it forward.

Castrejón said volunteers will go door to door in Pinehurst and distribute their homemade tamales, prepared by several Mexican families from the church. If the first round of donations is a success, congregants plan to return to Pinehurst with another batch of tamales.

They decided to go with more mild green tamales, instead of spicier red tamales, Castrejón added, so that people with a low heat tolerance can enjoy the food too.

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Kayla Young is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race, equity, and immigration for WFAE and La Noticia, an independent Spanish-language news organization based in Charlotte. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.