Saturday, February 24, 2024

Northgate Market Honors 20 Community Heroes and Awards Thousands to Nonprofits to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Northgate Market is recognizing community heroes and donating $40,000 to local nonprofits in the honorees’ name. San Diego recipients include Dr. America Bracho from Latino Health Access and Blanca Melendrez from the UC San Diego Center for Communty Health.

Blanca Melendrez accepting the JUNTOS Award from Estela Gonzalez-Ortiz from Northgate Market
Blanca Melendrez is the Executive Director, UC San Diego Center for Community Health. Melendrez’ mission is to improve health outcomes for California’s low-income residents and underserved neighborhoods. As the Executive Director for the UC San Diego Center for Community Health (CCH) at UC San Diego and Co-Chair for the UC San Diego Healthy Campus Network (HCN), Blanca is making a tremendous impact. Blanca leads community-wide efforts to enact policy, systems, and environmental changes aimed at improving health for underserved populations. She was recognized for what is now the largest and longest-running public health program in the country that works with low-income communities suffering from health disparities. Blanca and her team have developed new programs from the ground up such as Worksite Wellness, Faith-based Wellness, Healthy Retail, and Southern California Nutrition Incentive Program: ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh. She earned her M.A. in Latin American Literature at the University of California, San Diego and has been recognized in 2019 as the YWCA Woman of the Year, Humanitarian Award. Benefactor: San Diego Hunger Coalition

The newly created JUNTOS Award salutes outstanding leaders who uplift the Hispanic community through their humanitarian and philanthropic contributions. Visit the new landing page for more information at

“It is through these trying times we realize just how much our communities are in need. Many people are out of work and struggling just to put food on the table,” said Oscar González, co-president of Northgate Market. “For the past 40 years, our company has worked side-by-side with the community giving back whenever possible. These honorees inspire and remind us nothing is impossible if we all work together – JUNTOS.”

Giving back to the community has been part of Northgate Market’s DNA from the beginning. Throughout the pandemic, the company has donated food to families at drive-thru food banks, to frontline workers in hospitals and fire departments, and has awarded more than $215,000 in scholarships to local students.

The 2020 Honorees of the Northgate Market JUNTOS Award:

Jose Mejia, Regional Account Manager, 7Up; Lou Correa, U.S. Member of Congress, 46th District; Blanca Melendrez, Executive Director, UC San Diego Center for Community Health; Rose Espinoza, Founder/Executive Director, Rosie’s Garage Nonprofit; Teresa Samaniego, Vice President, Diversity & Community Engagement KABC-TV; Framroze “Fram” Virjee, President, Cal State Fullerton; Michelle Diaz, Counselor, Pledge Center at Katella High School; Bricia Lopez, Cookbook Author & Entrepreneur; Mario Cuevas, Mexican Consul, Orange County; John Echeveste, CEO, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes; Clemente Gonzalez, Market Head of Community Activation, Aetna; Barbara Jimenez, MPH, Director, Central & South Region; Ofelia Valdez-Yeager, City of Riverside Longtime Volunteer & Former School Board President; Vicente CID, Bimbo Bakeries USA; Gil de Cardenas, CEO, Cacique Inc.; Pauline Cazares, Community Volunteer/ Owner, Cazares Design; Edward “Eddie” Martinez, Executive Director, Latino Equality Alliance; Dr. America Bracho, Executive Director, Latino Health Access; Rev. Michael Kennedy, SJ; Patty Rodriguez, Lil’ Libros Publisher & Radio Personality.

Organizations receiving the cash awards include: Latino Health Access, America Diabetes Association, OC, Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, Rosie’s Garage,  Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation, UrbanLife San Diego, Harada House Foundation, LA County Fire Dept Foundation, Girasoles En Marcha, San Diego Hunger Coalition, Comisión de Salud Fronteriza México-Estados Unidos, Immigrants Rising, The Dominguez Dream, Feeding America, Latino Equality Alliance, Santa Ana College Foundation, SAC Students for Success Fund, CSUF Foundation, Titan Dreamers and Male Success Initiative, Conexiones Educativas, Immigration Resource Center, El Monte Resource Association, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and LA Music & Art School.

About Northgate González Market

Founded in 1980 Northgate González Market is an authentic, family-owned and operated Hispanic supermarket chain with 41 stores in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties. Headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., Northgate Market maintains its cultural heritage by offering its customers the best quality and freshest foods and personalized service. Northgate Market’s commitment to its communities is furthered by the González Reynoso Family Foundation by providing scholarships and assisting families in need. Visit for more information.



Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

More Local News