Tag: Mariella’s Banquets

Maywood Business Owner Donates Toys to Children of Battered Women, Others in Need


Antonio Sanchez, Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, Wilena Orr and Erica Sanchez inside of Mariella’s Banquets in Maywood on Christmas Eve moments before taking donated toys to children in need. | Michael Romain/VFP

Saturday, December 24, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Antonio Sanchez, who owns and operates Mariella’s Banquets, 124 S. 5th Ave., didn’t want this Christmas to go by without doing something for those in need. So, about a month ago, he set up a cardboard box the size of a mini refrigerator near the entrance to one of the business’s main banquet facilities and encouraged customers to fill it with toys.

“I matched whatever they brought in,” Sanchez said during an interview this morning. “I went to Target and bought a bunch of toys.”

Sanchez turned the gifts over to Wilena Orr, who works at the Quinn Community Center in Maywood. This Christmas, Orr will deliver more than 50 bags of gifts to the children of battered women.

Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, who was also on hand for the toy giveaway, said he recommended the Quinn Center to Sanchez as a potential depository of the businessman’s giving spirit.

“That’s what’s important about community policing,” Talley said. “Since I’m in the community, I know what the needs are. And Quinn does an excellent job serving victims of domestic abuse.”

Talley, who was recently selected to head up the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club, added that the organization’s focus has been on domestic violence education. The Rotary, he said, has partnered with Quinn to provide more resources for victims of domestic violence.”

“When kids go through domestic violence situations, they often get displaced from their homes,” said Talley. “During this time of year, that can ruin a kid’s Christmas and cause long-lasting memories. So, what Tony is doing is tremendously important.”

“I just want to counter some of the negatives we have in the community with something positive,” said Sanchez, who helped host a similar toy drive on the grounds of Mariella last year. “I came from very humble beginnings and Christmas was hard, so I know what some children go through.”

Sanchez’s wife, Erica, said that, after sharing the idea on his personal Facebook page, dozens of people gave positive feedback, often inquiring how they could help.

“People want to get involved in things like this,” Erica said.

Orr said that, in addition to toys, the kids also need clothes, coats and hats. She passes out the items throughout the year. VFP

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A Truck Crew Parks Holiday Cheer in Maywood

Unknown Street TruckzMembers of Unknown Street Truckz pose with donated toys inside Mariella’s Banquet Hall. Photo by Antonio Sanchez. Below, Antonio Posada, Ramon Posada and Antonio Sanchez in the parking lot f Mariella’s. Photos by Michael Romain.

DSC_1719Monday, December 22, 2014 || By Michael Romain

If group of collaborators have their way, yesterday’s holiday toy drive may be the start of more car fun in town

MAYWOOD || Cousins Antonio and Ramon Posada stood slightly shivering in the parking lot of Mariella’s Banquet Hall, 124 S. Fifth Avenue. The lot was packed full with Ford and Chevy trucks, virtually all of them customized to the hilt, plastic decals promoting “Unknown Street Truckz” affixed to the windows.

Unknown, a truck enthusiast’s equivalent to a motorcycle club, was founded by the Posada cousins in Roselle, Illinois. They started with about seven members and now boast about 40 members from places such as Cicero, Stone Park, Melrose Park and Maywood.

The men bill themselves as “Chicagos #1 Truck Crew,” according to the group’s Facebook page, which boasts over 1,000 likes. Recently, the group corralled more than 60 trucks into a swaggering processional down Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago—one of Unknown’s many cruise nights.

But they were here in the parking lot yesterday to do more than flaunt their tricked out vehicles; they were conducting a toy drive called “Toys 4 Tots,” which is part of their mission to do good while having fun. The Posadas said they were drawn to Maywood because Mariella’s co-owner, Antonio Sanchez, said that it was a community that could stand to benefit from their largesse.

“These are all hardworking guys who just like customizing their trucks and they wanted to do something to benefit the community,” said Sanchez, who co-hosted the event with the group. He, his family’s banquet hall and Unknown have partnered together to host a range of community events. Sanchez said the relationship is the result of a bond that grew organically.

“We mesh well,” he said, referencing the Posada brothers and their band of enthusiasts. Sanchez, who is a pickup truck owner himself, noted that the toys that were collected yesterday will go to PLCCA and a local church to be distributed to families in need this holiday.

He hopes that other positive events can come from the working relationship. One that has been floated around recently is a car show in Maywood.

“If Forest Park or Elmhurst can do car shows every Sunday, why can’t we do something here?” mused Sanchez, a Maywood native.

“We just need more positive things for the village,” he said. “I’m tired of hearing about Maywood in a bad light.” VFP


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Local Pastors Meet With Law Enforcement To Draw Up Solutions To Gun Violence

Clergy Breakfast(Mark Walsh speaks as Chief Talley looks on. Pictured below: Bishop Dr. Claude Porter and Chief Valdimir Talley. Photos by Michael Romain for the Village Free Press).

Bishop Porter

Monday, July 14, 2014 || By Michael Romain

MAYWOOD–Last Friday, the Maywood Police Department hosted a breakfast and meet-and-greet with area clergymen at Mariella’s Banquet Hall in Maywood. Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, was the keynote speaker. The discussion converged around the Concealed Carry legislation that Illinois adopted last year.

Walsh talked about the impetus for his anti-gun activism (when he was 12, two childhood friends of his committed suicide, one of whom shot himself with his police officer father’s service revolver); the cultural implications of gun violence; the details of the new legislation; and possible solutions to violence that pastors and community activists could pursue.

“Gun violence is a social justice issue,” Walsh said, noting the disproportionate affect that it has on communities of color. “But a bullet is color-blind.”

Walsh, a former aid to then State Rep. Eugene “Gene” Moore, told the clergymen gathered that they play a critical role in the efforts to staunch the rampant violence.

“You are the moral compass of the community,” he said, before asking the local religious leaders gathered to join him in advocating for tougher gun legislation.

“There is no faith that was forwarded on hate,” Walsh said.

Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley said that, as a counter to the violence, communities have to give neighborhood youth “work, hope and opportunity.” He cited the reactivated Maywood Explorers Program and his deep engagement with local businesses during his tenure as small steps in the slow community-rebuilding process that he said is a prerequisite for any long-term community strategy to combat the violence.

But exactly how local faith-based leaders could go about crafting a successful comprehensive anti-violence strategy was a matter of debate and, for some, disappointment.

Chief Talley at breakfast

Pastor Charles Jones, Sr., head of the Love & Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Maywood, said that he wished more pastors and faith leaders had heeded the Chief’s call to meet that morning.

“We need this coming together–it’s just too much killing,” he said. “Our young people are dying by the thousands. A kid I helped raise since he was six years old got shot just walking out of a restaurant here in Maywood.”

“We not only as a faith-based community, but as a community as a whole, have got to come together,” said Bishop Dr. Claude Porter, pastor of Proviso Missionary Baptist Church and Preside/CEO/Founder of the Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA). “We’ve got to coordinate our efforts together. The way to affect violence is through the homes,” he said. VFP

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