Tami Jo Nix/The Madera Tribune
The YLI assembly line from left, Debbie Chairez, Mary Chavira, YLI President Missie Altamirano and Raquel Gray build and pack dozens of the pre-sold enchiladas on Super Bowl Saturday at the Madera County Farm Bureau’s Ben Hayes Hall.
The women of the Saint Joachim Church’s Young Ladies Institute gathered at dawn on Saturday at the Ben Hayes Hall at the Madera Farm Bureau.
“I got here at 6:30 a.m.,” said longtime YLI member Debbie Chairez of Plaza Flower Shop.
This event has taken place every year since the 1980s, she said.
The other members of the early cooking crew included event chair Annette Kwock, Jan Armstrong and Stephanie Molina.
Planning to make 200 dozen enchiladas required making gallons of sauce, cooking the meat, chopping onions, adding shredded cheese, hundreds of corn tortillas, olives, cilantro and some secret ingredients.
This Super Bowl enchilada fundraiser is one of two signature events hosted by the group. The other is a Spring Salad Luncheon in April at Holy Spouses Hall, said YLI President Missie Altamirano. This local branch of the Catholic women’s organization was founded in 1925 and has a current membership of 61.
About 20 members that formed the enchilada assembly line could be seen with electric skillets frying tortillas, handing them off to be dipped in sauce, hand filled with the meat and cheese mixture, optional onions and garnished with more cheese. Fully cooked and sold in dozens and half dozens, the ready-to-eat treats were packed in microwaveable Styrofoam containers or could be moved to a pan for conventional oven reheating. Containers of extra sauce were also available for sale.
The group meets the second Wednesday of the month at the St. Joachim’s Para Center, Room 21.
The group sponsors charitable causes in Madera and supports the work of the National Young Ladies Grand Institute.
The national institute promotes suicide prevention and mental health services awareness according to its web page titled “What We Do.”
Additionally, the brief title web pages state, “The Christian principles of charity and love define the Young Ladies Institute. The emblem and sign of the Order is the cross within the laurel leaf, signifying that only in this symbol of man’s redemption can we expect the crowning victory of immortality.”
On September 5, 1887, in San Francisco, Annie M. Sweeney, her sister Mary E. Richardson and Emily Coogan founded The Young Ladies’ Institute to provide material support to a young woman who contracted tuberculosis, the web page says.
“Each meeting reflects the virtues of our founders, the golden links to the Christian virtues faith, hope and charity. The principles of unity, sisterly love and protection are the diamonds that give brilliance to our Order for they embody our love and concern for each other.”
The YLI now exists in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, and has more than 6,000 members, the web page concludes.