by Carolyn Canouse
The Chocolatada is an eagerly anticipated annual event and longstanding Peruvian Christmas tradition. Every December, local organizations, companies, and municipal governments give out sweet bread (usually panetón), toys, and enormous pots of hot chocolate to Peru’s rural and disadvantaged communities. Perhaps most excited for the annual holiday event are the children from these communities. Many come from miles away to receive their fruit cake-like slices of panetón, steaming cups of hot chocolate, and Christmas presents. The event brings hope to these communities and lets them know that they are not forgotten. In other words, the Chocolatada delivers the true meaning of Christmas – joy, love and sharing Christmas cheers to communities in Peru (kuodatravel.com).
We at Make a Miracle absolutely LOVE bringing Christmas cheer to the families of San Juan de Lurigancho. Our outreach has grown exponentially over the past 6 years, and there is no way we were going to let a pandemic stop us this year. Thanks to Giovanna, Lady, Jimmy and several of our Make a Miracle scholarship students, we are providing Chocolatada parties for 21 communities! More than 3,000 children and their families will have some truly warm and fuzzy memories of 2020. Memories of the true meaning of Christmas.
On December 23rd I received a video call from a family hosting one of our Chocolatadas in a rural area of Peru. The oldest son Felipe (11 years old) said they were preparing for the party and he and his friends and brothers all wanted to thank me for the donation of chocolate, milk, sugar and panettone. He passed the phone from kid to kid as I snapped screenshots (below) during their conversations. They were expecting 158 children and had more than 180 show up. I received countless videos and pictures throughout the night from this very special event, which made my day. I imagine the other 20 celebrations we provided were equally special. Thank you to my Peruvian family for sharing your Christmas with me!
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags! Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.’” - Grinch