The Search to Involve Pilipino Americans or SIPA hosted its annual toy drive in Eagle Rock, California.
"We got free food, free breakfast, free toys, entertainment, health screenings. Community vendors and organizations [were] out just to celebrate the holidays and to bring some joy. Last year, we had to skip the event because of Covid. This year, we’re back and we have a ton of toys," SIPA's executive director Kimmy Maniquis says.
At nearly 50 years old, SIPA is one of the longest running Filipino American outreach groups in Los Angeles. However, the past two years have been challenging. Former executive director John Swing passed away from Covid-19 last year. Most of SIPA's in-person programs and events had also been cancelled, and the community had to shift focus in helping low income and immigrant families throughout the pandemic.
"We’ve been in the period of taking the time especially during the pandemic to look at assessments - community needs assessments - and really analyze what it is our residents need," Maniquis notes.
But while they were able to spread some joy to end the year, things are looking brighter for 2022. "We're so excited for big things in 2022 - our new building, our headquarters on Temple opening up [with] 63 units of affordable housing... We're really looking forward to expanding the programming especially with health and human services, creating more health programs that will assist the community and things we are suffering from in the Filipino community like diabetes testings, blood pressure screenings, in addition to the youth programs," SIPA Board President Ed Malicdem says.
Next year, SIPA hopes to hold the toy drive in their new office, a place that some 60 people will also call home.