Casa de la Cultura Spotlight
Health care clinic, education hub, counseling provider, and food pantry, Casa de la Cultura is a multifaceted gem in the small community of Pajaro. The backbone of Casa de la Cultura is Sister Rosa Dolores.
In 1966 Sister Dolores felt called by the Religious Order of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and “educates for life” as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. In a small room behind the Assumption Church in Pajaro, Sister Dolores organized a place where the women of the community met 2-3 times a week to learn how to sew and to talk about the issues of the day. In time, the small organization started to distribute food to the community. After the 1995 Pajaro River flood, Sister Rosa saw an opportunity and moved into her current building at 225 Salinas Road in Pajaro.
Today, this organization serves as a free health clinic on Tuesday nights, focusing on Diabetes Care and offering Acupuncture, Healing Touch, Aromatherapy, and Pastoral Counseling. It collaborates with Monterey County Public health agencies as well as Salud Para La Gente Health Center, operating year-round. Sister Dolores also provides presentations about diabetes to farmworkers. She says, “Prevention and education are the most important things.”
It’s also a place where the community can come together to get food and to take advantage of a variety of empowering classes like Spanish literacy, drivers’ license test prep, music, art, etc. If the members of the community need help, Sister Dolores always lends a hand. Casa de la Cultura Center became a Second Harvest partner agency in 1992.
Olympia Garcia, Sister Dolores’s right hand, comes to Second Harvest each week and jumps straight into her duties and picks out food to distribute at Casa. Sister Dolores is very grateful, thankful, and appreciative of Olympia’s dedication and hard work throughout the years as a faithful volunteer.
Casa de la Cultura Center is a heart that beats for the community, strong and constant. It’s a hospital for the sick, a pantry for the hungry, and a haven for the community. With all these different instruments, Sister Dolores conducts an orchestra of peace in the community where all can arrive and be healed by time, care, music, and compassion.