With every tortilla Sandy Wall makes, she brings a little part of Mexico to Long Beach and surrounding communities.
Wall hit the ground running when she officially launched her tortilla non-profit Pueblita in February 2021 jumping straight in to work on collaborations and campaigns.
She quickly saw herself succeeding in one of her goals; to share the authentic feel of fresh tortillerias (tortilla shops) typically found in Mexican and Central American towns.
“My mom’s originally from Mexico, so I’m first generation,” Wall said. “The Mexican culture is still very alive and present, so cooking [has] just always been a conversation with my mom about like all the little tortillerias that are in Mexico.”
Pueblita’s name pays homage to the rich gastronomic city located in east-central Mexico, known for its mole poblano and chalupas. It’s also meant to be evocative of community.
“I wanted people to feel like when they participate with Pueblita [that] this is their community,” she said. “We always leave an open door.”
Wall runs the operation from her Long Beach apartment, mostly by herself with the help of her boyfriend, and has a sharp emphasis on the brand’s social media marketing.
Pueblita’s Instagram reads like an inviting cultural collage that highlights community.
Wall’s other goal was to be present in her community through immediate action and, since Pueblita’s inception, has donated most of the proceeds to different organizations or campaigns.
Wall’s first campaign raised $200 in half a month for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s Manna Meals program.
The program serves hot meals, provides hot showers and fresh clothing donated every fourth Saturday.
Currently, she’s laser-focused on the #Missionpossible campaign in collaboration with Urban Reset and LBC Resources, whose goal is to purchase 10 tablets and procure school supplies for children in need.
“The event is just to kind of help kids, understanding that it’s a hard time financially,” Bruce McCall Jr., founder of Urban Reset, said of the campaign. “As well as you know transitioning from being at home […] helping them to focus on their education.”
Helping children succeed in their education is near and dear to McCall Jr., who through Urban Reset has been supporting their enrichment. For this reason, he was connected to Wall who has a similar mission.
“I have a soft spot for kids because I grew up in a low-income, really low resource school,” Wall said of the inspiration behind the campaign.
Wall grew up in San Bernardino, where she noted there was a lack of resources. Not wanting the children in her community to go through a similar educational fate, she decided to raise funds using her tortillas.
“With COVID, all these kids are struggling with school,” Wall said. “I mean, if I was a student right now I would struggle, and I know if I was in a situation these kids were at when I was their age, I wouldn’t have a tablet. I would be sitting outside the library trying to figure [it] out on my phone.”
The funds also come from a portion of the sales from LBC Resources T-shirts and Urban Reset sweatsuits. So far, Wall estimates approximately $900 has been raised.
On Saturday, April 24, all three organizations will host their second pop up on Ocean Boulevard and Junipero Street where Wall will be selling fresh tortillas to raise funds for the campaign.
The community has also been supporting #Missionpossible in the form of donations bought from an Amazon wish list, whose items Wall has stacked up in her apartment. The community also had a chance to drop off donations at the March 20 supply drop-off.
The wish list contains three-ring binders, loose leaf paper, notebooks, scientific calculators and more that will be instrumental as children continue learning from home, others returning to school after COVID-19 closures.
Having an eye set intently on the future, Wall has also been busy in the process of planning an event that will aim to support Cambodia Town and the Asian community.
“It’s going to be like a whole process of just healing,” Wall said. “Just a time for people to have a platform to talk about their experiences. It’s going to be educational.”
Wall noted that the event will be open to everyone but will serve to uplift the Asian community, who have recently been targeted by hate crimes. The event’s date and location will be announced at a later time.
Today however, Wall has just a minute to take in the community support visibly present in the steps of her apartment.
“That’s just all been community donations,” Wall said of the school supplies packed up in Amazon boxes. “It’s been so amazing and so uplifting.”
Those interested in entering the #Missionpossible tablet giveaway can fill out this form and answer a few questions. The distribution event will take place on May 15 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.