WEEKEND: Sunday breakfast in Sequim to benefit Mujeres de Maiz foundation

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — The thing about the Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation's Mexican Breakfast is that it's much simpler than its name.

The meal, to be served from 8:30 a.m. till noon Sunday at the Sequim Prairie Grange Hall, 290 Macleay Road, is made up of tortillas, scrambled eggs, tomato-chile salsa, black beans, tea and coffee served by a small flock of Mexican-food-loving volunteers.

Admission is a suggested $10, with proceeds to benefit Mujeres de Maiz, a nonprofit organization partnering with women and their families in rural Chiapas, Mexico.

Judith Pasco, a Spanish teacher now retired from Sequim High School, founded Mujeres eight years ago, naming the foundation after a sewing cooperative called Mujeres de Maiz, or women of corn. In villages around the Chiapas city of San Cristobal de las Casas, these women seek independence as entrepreneurs, as well as freedom from the struggles that have plagued them for generations: domestic violence, alcoholism, grinding poverty.

The Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation provides college and high school scholarships to young women, eye examinations and glasses and enrichment programs for children.

In Sequim, the foundation holds various fundraisers; the Mexican Breakfast is the latest. The first one last March was a success, feeding about 100 people. Mujeres board members Molly Rivard and Steve Gilchrist were behind it all.

Rivard knows a lot about feeding crowds, having been head of food service for the Sequim School District before coming to her current job running the tasting room at Olympic Cellars.

Gilchrist just likes to cook. He's hoping for an even bigger audience this year, and plans on buying enough for 150.

“Molly figured out how we could set it up to get people served quickly,” Gilchrist said.

“If large numbers of people come in at the same time, there may be a little delay in getting served, but we're pretty fast.”

During the Mexican breakfast, recorded music — mariachi, traditional Mexican folk, a few songs by a Chiapas group called Sak Tzevul — will play. Mujeres board members will be on hand to answer questions.

A table runner from Chiapas and a basket of coffee-related gifts will be raffled off. No speechifying, Gilchrist said, though “there will be a display table or two around the room if people want to wander around with a cup of coffee or tea and check them out.”

Events like this Sunday's “are a lot of work, but they're fun. The big payoff is when we see the positive results of our efforts,” he added. “The money generated in this and other fundraisers has made a difference in the lives of many young indigenous women in Chiapas.

“By helping with their education, they are given an opportunity for career choices that would have been unthinkable. It's very gratifying.”

To learn more about the Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation, see www.MujeresdeMaizOF.org.

Last modified: March 22. 2014 9:42PM
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