EL CENTRO â€” Residents near 4thÂ Street and Orange were treated to free tacos and a car show May 24 as Christ Community Church sought to connect with its nearby neighbors. The line for tacos began to wind down the block as word spread about the free food and entertainment.
Brian Melvin, in coordination with New Creations, Reach Youth Center, and several other ministries, organized the eveningâ€™s events, and was encouraged by the turnout.
â€œItâ€™s just a part of Christ Community reaching out to the neighborhood here and bringing a good classic and other car shows into the neighborhood free of charge,â€ said Melvin.
The neighborhood is viewed as among the poorest in El Centro. Roughly 45 percent of the residents in that section of El Centro live below the poverty line, according to city-data.com, an online aggregate data service.
Volunteers expected to feed 400 people that night, serving a total of two hundred pounds of pollo asado, along with beans, rice, sodas, and water. A bluegrass band treated the crowd to music as they ate tacos and surveyed the cars. Gift cards amounting to $250 were raffled off that night as well.
The parking lot was filled with tables for people to eat and socialize, as well as the various cars on display. The event started at 6:00 p.m., but by 6:20 p.m., the number of attendees convinced Melvin that the show was a success.
â€œItâ€™s probably going to become an annual event,â€ Melvin said. â€œNext year weâ€™re probably going to have a full-fledged car show with both parking lots full.â€
The original idea to combine free tacos and a car show had seemed to Melvin a good combination, so he got in touch with a friend to see if he was willing to bring out his classic cars.
â€œJerry Tucker has some nice show cars, and I called him,â€ said Melvin. But Tucker wasnâ€™t sure he could make it, so he did the next best thing.
â€œHe got me in touch with his car club,â€ recalled Melvin. â€œThe Sunrunner Car Club, along with some others, have come out to show off all their cars.â€
Although the event was in the works for weeks, some aspects of the evening seemed to come together on their own.
â€œThe other car club thatâ€™s here, I donâ€™t even know who they are, but Iâ€™m glad they came,â€ shared Melvin. That club was Team Supremacy, which featured more modern models for car enthusiasts to enjoy.