SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Gloria Castañeda of Parker came to this country with scant resources. But now, she has found stability and is literally paying it back to a local nonprofit which helped her along the way.
Castañeda is one of around 250 people who work for Gage Brothers, which makes concrete products. Employees there will see their donation to a local organization matched by Gage Brothers: as much as $2 each paycheck. One organization employees can support is Caminando Juntos; Castañeda does this because they supported her.
“It’s very important for me because when we immigrated to this country, they opened the doors for us,” Castañeda said in Spanish.
Caminando Juntos is a Sioux Falls nonprofit that helps connect the Latino community with a variety of services. The organization is a Presentation Sisters ministry.
“There also is a connection with many of the employees that we have helped through the English classes that we offer and also through the immigration services that we offer,” Caminando Juntos Executive Director Matthew Tschetter said. “Many of them have come through our organization and have been helped that way, and for them to give back in this way is just a wonderful way to complete that circle of giving.”
Castañeda herself directly experienced the support Caminando Juntos provides.
“From our country we came without anything to this country, right, so they help one with respect to where to find food, where to find clothing,” Castañeda said in Spanish. “They help you with small English classes, because you come here without even knowing how to say thank you.”
“We have a very large Latino population within our team member group here and a lot of ties to Caminando Juntos with those team members, whether they’ve utilized their services in the past, attended English classes or the other various services that they provide,” said Cassie Nicolai, vice president of HR and safety with Gage Brothers.
Castañeda is in a good place in South Dakota, and she’s helping look out for others seeking the same.
“With time, we no longer need this because, well, I have a job,” she said in Spanish. “My daughter studies. I have a stable family.”