Update on Our Food Bank

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Many of you who have been part of our project for years have now become involved with our current effort to help feed the families in Volcanes and the surrounding areas. Your response to this crisis has been heartwarming. This small article is an update to keep you informed on what has been happening.

Before we get to the details and the numbers, we want to say that it has been a humbling experience to hear the gratitude most of the families have shown when we have driven to their doors to give them their “despensa” (food package). In most cases, the situation had become very dire. These people were already struggling to make it when they had minimum wage jobs around town. But now, with the entire Puerto Vallarta economy in shambles, their situation has become desperate. A lot of them have sent us messages pleading for help and telling us their gut-wrenching stories.

“Gob bless your project and every person doing this beautiful work. All of you are angels,” a wrinkled old lady nicknamed Dona Basi told us as we gave her the food. She then proceeded to bless us by making the sign of the cross toward each of us while whispering a small prayer on our behalf. We have heard blessings and comments like these from almost every family we have helped and it is moments like these that make us realize just how important our efforts are to these people. Together we are making a huge difference and, we honestly believe, saving lives. When we say “saving lives,” we are obviously helping by keeping people fed, but we must also acknowledge the mental and emotional toll this coronavirus shutdown has taken on people. People here are desperate, there’s nothing worse than not being able to feed your kids or family, and that desperation can lead to thoughts of suicide or to the actual act. With our efforts (all of us included), we are literally saving lives.

“A generous man will himself be blessed for he shares his food with the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9

Now to the numbers and the details of the food bank. Within the first week of announcing our food bank idea, we received over $10,000 U.S. dollars in donations from all of you. Other people have committed to making donations in the following weeks or days and we hope to have close to $20,000 dollars in the near future. For the benefit of clarity in this update, we will be using U.S dollars as the currency.

As of today, April 12, 2020, we have distributed 127 food packages – 50 the first week and 77 the next. This means we have helped 127 families. Our goal is to help 300 families every month for the duration of this crisis – in the case of Puerto Vallarta, it may be until September or October when and if the tourists return. Each despensa will feed a family of four for up to three weeks.

In looking for stores to buy the products we needed for the despensas, we tried to look for local stores in order to help them stay afloat. But we talked to them and told them we would be willing to buy from them exclusively and in bulk IF they were willing to give us good prices so that we could feed more people. All of them agreed and we were able to get very good prices on the most important products needed.

We will be spending approximately $6,400 dollars to help 300 families a month ($1600 every week). Each of these 300 families will get a despensa each month.

APRIL MAY JUNE
WEEK ONE

50 DESPENSAS

COST: $1300

WEEK ONE

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK ONE

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK TWO

77 DESPENSAS

COST: $1,600

WEEK TWO

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK TWO

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK THREE

85 DESPENSAS

COST ESTIMATE:

$1750

WEEK THREE

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK THREE

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK FOUR

85 DESPENSAS

COST ESTIMATE:

$1750

WEEK FOUR

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

WEEK FOUR

75 DESPENSAS

COST: $1600

TOTAL EXPENSES FOR THESE THREE MONTHS IS APPROX: $19,200

With the current funds we have and will have in the coming weeks, we can help feed these families until the end of June. If you look at the numbers, it takes approximately $21 U.S. dollars to feed a family of four for up to three weeks. Each despensa contains the following items:

  • 1 Kilo of Rice
  • 2 Kilos of Beans
  • 1 Kilo of Lentils
  • 1 Kilo of Soya
  • 1 Kilo of Salt
  • 1 Kilo of Sugar
  • 2 Packs of Maria Cookies
  • 4 Cans of Tomatoed Paste
  • 2 Rolls of Toilet Paper
  • 2 Cans of Mixed Vegetables
  • 1 Liter of Cooking Oil
  • 1 Big Bar of Soap
  • 4 Liters of milk
  • 3 Packs of Spaghetti
  • 30 Eggs (Carton)
  • 1 Kilo of Oatmeal
  • 6 Oranges
  • 5 Potatoes
  • 3 Onions

As can be seen, every donation made is being stretched to benefit the most people and to ensure each family gets enough food for three weeks.

Last night, April 11, 2020, the Secretary of Health in Mexico issued a statement warning that the current forced lock down which was to end on April 30th, may stretch until the end of May. Due to these circumstances, and the reality of Puerto Vallarta, we foresee a need to help these families all the way until September or October when and if the tourists return and get our broken economy going again. Thank you all for your continued donations. Together, we will overcome this virus. Together we will keep people fed and be that much better for it. A big (virtual) hug to every single one of you who has contributed to the battle against hunger here in Volcanes and beyond.


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