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La Tanda -- A Grassroots Savings Scheme

From Making Contact | Part of the Making Contact series | 04:59

A newshole ready first-person piece about "La Tanda", a tradition of many immigrant communities of pooling their money, and sharing the benefits.

Z_headphones-globe_small A newshole ready first-person piece about "La Tanda", a tradition of many immigrant communities of pooling their money, and sharing the benefits.

Chicago Public Radio Economy Coverage (Series)

Produced by WBEZ

Most recent piece in this series:

A Holiday Party for the Unemployed by WBEZ's Adriene Hill

From WBEZ | Part of the Chicago Public Radio Economy Coverage series | 03:34

Cityroom_20091210_ahill_1457786_a_ho_large_small It’s the season for holiday office parties. Awkward standing around…maybe some late night craziness with co-workers. This year, millions of people are without work…and without an office party to attend. But, being without a job didn’t stop some Chicagoans from celebrating last night.

HILL: I’m here at the Mid-America club on the 80th floor of the Aon Center in downtown Chicago. The party is just getting started—and no, it’s not your typical holiday party. This is a party for out of work Chicagoans. They’re expecting 550 people here tonight, maybe more to pack this crowded room and enjoy the party they’re not going to have at work.

GUPTA: I came to have some fun. As I no longer work with my former company, I do miss having a big party you know. This is a great way to network and mingle with people and to have some fun with people during the holidays.

Preeti Gupta’s an out of work program manger.
HILL: What do you like about holiday parties?

GUPTA: People are so relaxed and so much fun. And there’s so much joy. The ease in the air. 

I’ve been to a lot of unemployment events this year---this is way more laid back. People are eating hotdogs, drinking beer from paper cups…laughing. The first hour is open bar and open networking.
MAZZETTA: I think there’s a certain synergy between alcohol and sharing your out of work stories.

BERHNARSKI: Plus you’ve caught us early, we’ve just walked in.

Lou Bryniarski and Joe Mazzetta chat at the far end of the room.
HILL: And are you a holiday party fan typically?

MAZZETTA: Yes I am. I was kind of missing it this year.

HILL: Tell me about that, what were you missing?

MAZZETTA: I was out of work since April. Missing the general comradery and the ability to share stories with my co-workers.

The party was organized by the group Out of Work Chicago— Patrick Iwanicki is one of the co-founders.

IWANICKI: I think people are really feeling demoralized and depressed particularly around this time of the season. So I think what our events provides is a safe haven to support one another to glean tips, tricks and find out there not alone in this particular time.

But he says tonight’s more about fun than anything.
HILL: Do you expect any wild and craziness of the holiday parties? Any lamp shades on the head?

IWANICKI: I certainly hope so. If we did our job right it’s going to be more festive.

They certainly attracted a crowd here tonight. There are lines to get in—long lines for the food… In fact, the party even lured a few people with jobs.

HILL: You’re all party crashers? You all have jobs?
PARTY CRASHERS:  We thought we could come and help somebody find a job. We’re networking. Right? If everyone came and they were all out of work than how would they help other people get a job, right? They got to have some people who have a job. It didn’t say on the invitation that you had to be out of work. Did we violate every possible?

HILL: I don’t think so, but do you guys just love parties?

PARTY CRASHERS: They call it loopholes, we’re always looking for a place to come so…

Later in the evening a lounge singer gets up and sings the Beatles song “Help!” with recession lyrics.

But her tone is far more plaintive than the spirit of the rest of the evening.