New Hope United Methodist Church invites the community to come out to A Taste of Cuba, a special evening of fundraising, food and music to benefit the sister churches in Cuba.

The community is invited to join New Hope United Methodist Church on Friday, April 29 from 6-8 p.m. for A Taste of Cuba, an evening of music and food to help raise funds to support sister churches in Cuba. Enjoy delicious Cuban food, music provided by the New Hope Worship Teams, a silent auction, personal stories of praise and opportunities to learn how our brothers and sisters in Christ are living day-to-day life and how you can help.

When Fidel Castro took power in Cuba in 1959, organized religion was banned and churches were shut down. Religious restrictions were finally eased in 1992, and despite its history of religious marginalization under the Castro regime, today the number of practicing Christians is growing in Cuba. Cubans can now go to church without fear of retribution, and there is a growing presence of Christianity throughout the island.

New Hope has partnered with two sister churches in the Buey Arriba area located in Southwest Cuba.

“This is an opportunity to raise awareness, provide prayer and unite as the Body of Christ for our Cuban brothers and sisters,” said Mandy New, director of communications at New Hope. “Despite the hardships, God’s work is still happening in Cuba.”

Although this is a first-time event, the church is hoping for an overwhelming turn out and support by the community. La Teresita Cuban Restaurant in Tampa graciously donated meals for 200-250 people for the event. The menu will consist of pork, black beans and rice, plantains and Cuban bread. 

“We are asking for attendees to RSVP; however, the event itself is free to attend,” said New. “Donations are accepted at, and we will also have a silent auction at the event.”

Throughout the evening, there will be stories of praise and personal testimonies from a variety of speakers. Additional information on how to help make a difference in Cuba will also be provided. 

New Hope is also seeking additional donations for the event’s silent auction. If you can donate, contact New at 813-689-4161 or by email at 

The church has set a fundraising goal of $15,000 for the event. Donations will go toward the support of the sister churches in Cuba as well as a much-anticipated mission trip to Cuba. New Hope is located at 213 N. Knights Ave. in Brandon. For more information, visit or follow on Facebook @findnewhopefl.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.