I think I’ve lost count as to the number of HICA tamale sales I’ve been a part of all these years! It’s the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama’s signature fundraiser and a labor of love each year to put together and pull off. It’s gone from a group of people making tamales in a church kitchen, to volunteers making them at the Culinard kitchen to outsourcing to restaurants one year when the demand got so great. Over the years I like to think we’ve finally perfected the sale, the way we market the sale and most of all, the tamale pick up day! On a personal note, I rolled off the HICA board in December last year, but this organization is close to my heart and I’ll always use the word “we” when talking about it.
I’ve written a lot about the sale over the years but I don’t know that I’ve really talked about tamale pick up day. It always takes place on a Friday in December and it’s the day set aside for people who have bought tamales to stop by the HICA office and pick them up. We always ask HICA board members to be on hand to help with the pick up day in shifts. Of course, the HICA staff is always on hand to make sure there is a good flow to everything and the orders are fulfilled.
Calls are placed to people who placed large orders to remind them to come by and pick up. Over the past few years, Tamale Captains were created to help with this. When you order, you can select a tamale captain that you know and request for them to be delivered to you through this person.
For me, tamale pick up day is my favorite part of this fundraiser. I don’t sign up for a shift because I like being there all day! I love seeing all the people who come by and support HICA by buying tamales and listen to their stories. That’s one of the best parts. These stories are often unsolicited too. As they are waiting for their tamales to be bagged, they offer stories on what they will be doing with the tamales, when they will enjoy them and how often they’ve been buying them from HICA! It’s become such a tradition for so many people in the Birmingham area.
In the past, I’ve brought Christmas music to play and also a box of goofy Christmas headbands – antlers, santa hats, elf ears, etc. – for the board and staff to wear and greet everyone. This past year, I had a blinking Christmas light necklace that I wore. I bought it at Walgreens and several of the staff members loved it and wanted one. So after I went to make a tamale drop off downtown, I hit up several Walgreens stores looking for a few more to share with the staff with no luck! I’m hoping I can find a few in the next few weeks to take with me this year!!! It just adds to the fun of the day!
Because of my love for “pick up” day, I have recorded it with photos over the years. Here are a few of my favorites and some of my friends who continue to support HICA by buying tamales every year.
If you are in the Birmingham area and want to experience the HICA tamale sale this year, like HICA’s Facebook page to keep up with the updates. The sale begins on Thanksgiving day (Nov 23rd) and ends Dec 10. Pick up day is on Friday, Dec 14th at the HICA offices. I’ll be there so let me know you read this blog post and let’s take a photo together!