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Cinco de Mayo candidates collecting comfort kit items for American Red Cross

For the past three years the Sunnyside Miss Cinco de Mayo candidates have held a community service project just prior to the pageant to give some of the girls their first opportunity of giving back to the community.

Pageant organizer Jackie Mendoza Maya said the joint community service project is intended to give the girls running for the title a taste of community service.

"Maybe if they don't win it will trigger them to continue to give back to the community," said Maya. "We like to do it before the pageant so all the girls are involved."

With the pageant just around the corner, Wednesday, April 27, to be exact, practice for the event has already begun. It was at one of the rehearsals that the girls suggested that the group's project benefit disaster relief.

Maya said the tsunami in Indonesia prompted the girls to suggest raising funds for the Red Cross disaster relief.

With an outpouring of relief going to those hit by the tsunami, Maya said the most urgent need is comfort kits, which will be given to families affected by all types of disasters.

Each kit is made up of a washcloth, small tube of toothpaste, a small packet of tissues, a small bottle of shampoo and shaving lotion, a small bar of soap, a toothbrush, disposable razor and a new comb all placed in a large zip lock bag.

The items for the comfort kits will be collected Wednesday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Centennial Square bandstand. Cash donations will also be accepted.

"We're not expecting good weather, but we'll be out there," she said.

The girls will also be collecting old cell phones for the Lower Valley Crisis and Support Services facility, which uses the phones to help stop domestic violence.

This year's pageant coordinator, Rosalinda Alvarez, works for the local crisis center, said Maya.

"We thought it would be a great way to support what she does," Maya added.

With several of the girls having old cell phones they plan on donating, the group has a good start, but is looking for more phone donations.

Tickets for the April 27 pageant are available at Raquel's Boutique or by calling Mendoza Maya or Carlos Maya, 836-2096. Tickets will also be available at the door that evening.

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