The Socorro Fire Department served about 700 meals at their 9th annual Matanza at the Socorro Plaza on Saturday, raising money to support the kids in the community.
Lines of people formed for the traditional meal of chicharrónes, carne adovada, carnitas, potatoes, chile, beans and tortillas. It took all sixteen staff members of the Fire Department to work the grills, cook, organize and serve the food.
“The Traditional Matanza is done around Christmas time, and we do it during the parade because the parade ends at the plaza and brings everyone to the event,” said Socorro Fire Chief Lawrence Baca.
All the money raised from the Matanza allows the department to take 70 deserving K-5th graders in the fire truck to Wal-Mart on a shopping spree. The list of kids is selected by the school and each child who is selected gets a $100 gift card to spend as they please.
“We try to give them the whole experience, with the lights and siren,” Baca said.
Daniel Pacheco, Shift Captain of the Socorro Fire Department, said that the kids seem to really enjoy the experience and it’s fun for the firefighters too.
Each firefighter takes two kids shopping and are given the opportunity to buy whatever they want. They are encouraged to buy themselves at least one gift but often the kids will also buy presents for their family.
“It’s all about the community and kids; it’s good to see the smiles on their faces,” Baca said.“It’s for a good cause.”
Baca said they were buying meat for the event from the store up until four years ago when they decided to buy 4-H pigs. This year, they bought three pigs and expect next year they will buying more since they ran out of food on Saturday.
“Some kids show their pigs at the fair with the hope of making a sale and if they don’t make a sale, we buy their pigs to help them make some of their money back,” Baca said. “That’s one of the ways for us to help give back to the community.”
Baca and Pacheco hope that the event will continue to grow and have ideas on how they can expand the event to benefit more kids.
“I’m assuming everybody loves it because they keep coming back and it keeps growing every year,” Pacheco said, “The last four years we’ve been doing this is has just gotten bigger and better.”
Chief Baca said they are grateful for their supporters including Walmart, City of Socorro, First State Bank, Sophia’s Kitchen, Joe and Vicki Gonzales, Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe, The DAV, John Brooks and others in the community who contributed.