Margarita Quinones talks the talk and walks the walk. And she does so with her magnetic smile and laughing eyes.
For her 40 years of service to La Comunidad Hispana, she was honored during a reception at the Farm House Restaurant, Avondale.
Quinones said she was told, “The best social workers are the ones who learn skills through experience.” Social work is her passion and her life’s work.
Margarita grew up in Florida. Her migrant worker parents traveled continually from Florida to New Jersey following the crops as they needed harvesting. She said, “I lived a life of transition.” She knows first hand how migrant workers feel being away from family.
After attending high school in Philadelphia, she moved to Kennett Square in 1971. At the time of her move, she said, “There was nothing here to help anybody.” Having had personal experience, she related to the needs of migrant workers and committed to an action plan.
Margarita and six women from her church formed a group to assess the needs of the community. Margarita wrote a proposal and administered surveys. The West Chester Community Action Board took them under their wing in 1972. Margarita says, “We were able to rent a small room above a boxing studio . . . we were determined to make it work!”
With pride, she said, “Five months later we became incorporated.” La Comunidad Hispana was officially launched.
Margarita has observed generations of immigrants coming to the area from Mexico during the four decades. “People say why don’t you retire? But I don’t want to do anything else. I love helping people,” Margarita said with her dancing eyes.
She paused for a second and added with feeling, “These are hard times and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue our work at La Comunidad.”
La Comunidad Hispana was established in 1973 as a community-based nonprofit organization to empower immigrants and low-income residents in Chester County to stay healthy, build strong families and lead productive, fulfilling lives. LCH is a culturally competent, bilingual, bicultural agency that reflects the community it serves. For more information, go to www.lacomunidadhispania.org or call 610-444-7550, ext. 243.