On September 22, Amapola Market held an event celebrating its 62nd anniversary and Hispanic Heritage Month in Downey, California, one of the market’s three locations. Amapola Market welcomed the public to celebrate this milestone by having different activities such as food tasting, music entertainment and a radio station that gave out prizes, according to a press release.
Founded in 1961 by Don Francisco Galvan, along with his son Carlos B. Galvan, Amapola Market first started as a small deli, but as the business expand it began to offer more authentic Mexican products for customers, such as menudo, carnitas and masa, their most known product, used for the making of tamales. Since then, Amapola Market has been providing natural Latin products and products made with non-GMO corn to their customers, of which the majority are from the Latino and Hispanic communities.
When it comes to their customers, Amapola Market’s mission has strived to bring products that feel and taste authentic to their customers’ cultures. Ronaldo Pozos, who is the president and CEO of Amapola Market, told CALÓ NEWS that the company wants its products to resemble a homemade meal while bringing happiness through their different flavors.
Pozos recognizes the impact Amapola Market has had on the Latino and Hispanic communities since its start.
“For the last 60 years, Amapola has become a tradition for family gatherings and a way to celebrate our family, our ethnicity and a way to celebrate being Latino,” Pozos said. “Amapola has been around for so many years that we have customers that tell us that they used to come with their grandmothers or their grandfathers early in the morning to get the first batch of masa.”
Supporting the LGBTQ+ community
To support the community, Amapola Market launched a fundraiser for the Latino Equality Alliance’s (LEA) LGBTQ+ Youth Scholarship Fund during their celebration. The LEA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “advocate for safety, equity and wellness for the Latinx Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + community,” as stated on its website.
One way LEA has been helping LGBTQ+ youth is through its scholarship fund, which was founded in 2018 to support LGBTQ+ youth students in their academic success in higher education. Eddie Martinez, executive director at LEA, said that the organization hopes this scholarship will help lessen the stress that comes with going to college. “So we can reduce stress for them by giving them a scholarship where they could buy books, buy food and pay for gas,” Martinez said.
Kevin Palomo, a college student at Cal Poly Pomona, is one of many recipients who have been impacted by LEA’s scholarship and the overall organization. Palomo first came in contact with the LEA after learning about the organization’s mission and goals, where he ended up being part of a fellowship.
A Guatemalan native who traveled to the U.S. in his teenage years, Palomo explained that he has struggled financially when it comes to his academics and personal finances.
During the pandemic, Palomo said that he decided to apply for the scholarship because he noticed how immigrants like himself had a difficult time finding support, and if there was support it was scarce. Also, he was grateful that he was able to qualify to apply for the LEA’s scholarship.
“My citizenship status made it very difficult for me to get any sort of support, and they were one of the only scholarships that I had the pleasure of seeing that did not require me to be a citizen,” Palomo said. “So, that’s one of the things that I was so inspired by them because they were not only expanding it to the LGBTQ+ community but also the larger conducting community and everybody in between.”
To his surprise, Palomo became one of the 2020 recipients of the LEA’s scholarship and reapplied for their 2023 application, when he also won the scholarship. This year, Palomo told CALÓ NEWS that he was able to stay afloat with the help of the money he was awarded.
He also said that LEA’s scholarship brought a lot of hope for him, especially in his last semester when he was not sure if he was going to be able to pay for school.
“I used the money that they provided to me to apply again for my last semester. So they brought hope in order for me to graduate,” Palomo said. “And it also expanded on other desires that I have to move into a career that is basically fulfilling to me, so that’s where I would say they have been an essential part of my academic record and also my professional life.”
Since 2018, the LEA has been able to give out around $60,000 in total scholarships for students like Palomo, and around 50 have been recipients of the scholarship. Recipients can be awarded $1,000 to $5,000.
The money the LEA awards to students comes from different donors, including companies, corporations, small businesses, individuals and more. Martinez said that LEA also raises funds for the scholarship through a lotería fundraiser or other creative ways.
As for the Amapola Markets fundraiser, its three locations will be selling “200 percent canvas bags” that promote their 200 Generation campaign, which is 100 percent Latino and 100 percent American.
“Our campaign is, I’m 200% generation. That means I’m 100% Latino; I’m 100% American. Very proud of being the two cultures. Not because you are Mexican and a descendant and being born in the U.S. You don’t have to give up any part of your identity,” Pozos said. “You can be a hundred percent American because you love this country. You love hot dogs and hamburgers. You’re also a hundred percent Latino because you carry all that heritage from your family and generation.”
Canvas bags for fundraiser
The canvas bags were sold during Hispanic Heritage Month and all proceeds will go to LEA’s scholarship fund.
Pozos said that Amapola Market decided to launch this fundraiser specifically for LEA because leaders believe that it is a great organization that supports not only inclusion and diversity but also different ways of thinking and leading.
“We want to have integrated communities where everybody, being Latino, being American we have to be working together towards a better place to live,” Pozos said. “And I think this Latino Equality Alliance has all these fundamentals that we are all searching for in Los Angeles to become a better city.”
As for the LEA, Martinez said that the organization is grateful that a company like Amapola Market decided to create this fund that will benefit and help many LGBTQ+ youth students.
For more information on LEA’s scholarship, you can visit their website, where there is a page dedicated to the fund. Donations can also be made on the page. In addition, the public may call the offices at (323) 286-7224 to inquire information about the scholarship fund.