One of the charities that the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce works with is Centro Mater. Centro Mater Child Care Services (CMCCS) was founded in 1968 by Mother Margarita Miranda Otero—a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Cuba—who recognized a desperate need for child care services among the newly exiled Cuban families in Miami. Miranda Otero established the organization in an effort to provide the necessary care and protection for South Florida’s growing immigrant youth population as their parents strived to obtain financial independence in a foreign world.
Over time, the center expanded its reach, from the streets of Little Havana, to Hialeah Gardens, and eventually, Hialeah. These expansions allowed them to service, previously underserved neighborhoods where immigrants suffering from socio-economic disadvantages have historically concentrated. And while founded upon a Cuban and Catholic base, Centro Mater serves children and families of every nationality, faith and race—nearly 1,200 annually. This belief is deeply rooted in the organization’s motto: Because at Centro Mater, every child MATERS.
Because of the tremendous importance of helping our financially disadvantaged children, the SFLHCC took it upon itself to bring a smile to these beautiful children in the holidays. The chamber’s non-profit committee meets for three months to prepare for the big DAY. The toy drive benefits roughly 1,100 children, and it is an all day activity as we visit various centers.