2nd Update on Our Food Bank
In order to provide an accurate update on the Volcanes Food Bank, this article will be written in three small parts: the current situation in Puerto Vallarta; the current situation in Volcanes; and the obstacles we face going forward.
- CURRENT SITUATION IN PUERTO VALLARTA
The need to start a Food Bank here at Volcanes arose out of sheer necessity. We have written before about the devastation the Coronavirus brought to the city of Puerto Vallarta, a city whose economy is based on tourism. When the Governor of Jalisco ordered the lock-down on March 13, 2020 and the tourists were forced to return to their countries of origin by their respective governments, our city went into free fall. For obvious reasons, the people who were most affected were those living in the poorest neighborhoods of our city – neighborhoods like Volcanes and its surrounding areas.
For three whole months, people were left without jobs and without a way to put food on the table. Unlike other countries, the Mexican government did not offer much relief to the people who needed it the most. Our Food Bank was indispensable and crucial in these neighborhoods.
On June 15, 2020, Puerto Vallarta allowed certain businesses and public places, including hotels and beaches, to open up on the condition they follow strict protocols. This opening will attract some visitors during the summer months, mostly nationals from Guadalajara and other cities in Mexico. However, we don’t expect to see Americans or Canadians – the drivers of our economy – in droves until maybe January 2021. This means that people in Volcanes will continue to struggle financially for the foreseeable future. Our Food Bank will continue to be a need for them, a lifeline until things get back to normal.
“Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
- THE CURRENT SITUATION IN VOLCANES
The main focus of our Food Bank has been the Volcanes colonia (neighborhood) and its surrounding areas. We have been feeding in this area since the beginning of April. We began with 50 needy families and for the past month and a half we have been feeding 125 families per week. Five hundred families are receiving food packages from us, helping to feed over 3,000 people, especially children and the elderly.
Thanks to the generosity of over 200 donors, some small and some big, we have been able to offer this needed help until this point and currently have funds to feed until the end of August. The first 50 food packages cost approximately $450 pesos each, but with some bulk food donations and price bargaining, we have been able to get the cost of each package down to $370 pesos (approximately $16.50 USD). A food package feeds a family of four for three weeks, maybe four.
- OBSTACLES GOING FORWARD
The main obstacle we face going forward is the funding needed for food distribution after the month of August. We hope things will stabilize quickly and hope it will be before the end of the year. But, even the most optimistic forecast says we will need to help these families until December.
The approximate cost, per week, to feed these families is close to $2,000 US dollars, or $8,000 US dollars a month. If we are to continue until December, we will need to raise $32,000 US dollars to feed these 500 families for the remainder of the year. If you can help in any way, please do so. Every single donation counts. As stated earlier, we have had over 200 donors, some who donated as little as $25 dollars, others who donated more, but it all added up and we have been able to provide a lifesaving service to people who really need it at this point.
A big thank you to every single person who has been instrumental in making sure our Food Bank was and is a success.