By Eric Heinz
Returning this year, ¡Lotería! will take place June 2 to benefit the Focus Points Family Resource Center. The event will be at 5 p.m. at 3455 Ringsby Court, Suite 105 in the new Comal Heritage Food Incubator location.
“Lotería is a traditional game from Mexico,” said Jules Kelty, the executive director of Focus Points Family Resource Center. “It’s similar to Bingo, and it’s played among families and friends. What’s also cool is it helps people learn to read and write throughout areas of Mexico.”
Kelty said because the game isn’t copyrighted, anyone can change the dynamics of it. Poems are used to describe the characters, and people try to guess them in order to score points. At least four rounds will be played during the Focus Points event.
¡Lotería! first took place in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event in 2020. A smaller version was held in 2021, but the event did not take place last year. This will be the first full gathering in a few years.
The main fundraising effort is centered on Comal Heritage Food Incubator, a nonprofit arm of Focus Points, which helps immigrant and refugee women break into the culinary arts professions.
“On top of offering an amazing experience for our guests, Comal’s new location will most importantly provide us with a more dynamic space to help our participants to achieve their dreams,” said Seynabou Sohai, program manager of Focus Points. “We’re incredibly excited about this next chapter for Comal and are thrilled to join the ArtPark family this summer. The RiNo Art District’s dedication to fostering a welcoming, creative community is a perfect match for Comal’s mission of cultural exchange.”
Comal was in the top 50 restaurants named by The New York Times “The Restaurant List” in 2021, which focused on restaurants that the paper called “exciting.”
“We have great food right now,” Kelty said. “The cuisine is Mexican and Venezuelan. It’s always food that reflects the heritage of the women in the program.” Some of the migrant women are part of the surge Denver saw in December and January of people mostly coming from Venezuela.
“We’re actually working with the city and the county of Denver, and we’re going to be helping with resource navigation for the migrants who are staying within Denver,” Kelty said. “We haven’t done any immediate response right now, but for the group, they’re identifying who will actually be staying in Denver, and we’ll be providing resources and support. We’re inviting them to join Comal as an option.”
More information about Comal and Focus Points Family Resource Center can be found at focuspoints.org.