Food & Necessities
Food, water, shelter, medical supplies, travel assistance
Food, water, shelter, medical supplies, travel assistance
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
We can’t feed them all. No matter how big our hearts or pocketbooks there will always be people who are hungry, whether it a result of economic disasters, poor life choices or just their location at birth. It might be a temporary set back or it might be permanent condition. The druggie may one day walk into a 12 step meeting and turn their life around, or not. The kid from the hood might take advantage of an athletic scholarship or helping hand and expand his or her horizons, or not. The single mother may learn new skills and start a small cottage business to support herself and her children, or not.
Sometimes there are choices that can make a difference. Sometimes those choices are not presented, beyond reach or just too hard to believe in so for whatever reason there will always be children who go to sleep on an empty stomach. So what should we do about it? If we can’t make it “all better” should we just close our eyes or turn our heads so we don’t have look at it?
Mother Teresa’s answer was do what you can. Paty Orozco has taken a similar stand in San Felipe. She can’t make it “all better” for her own daughter, Lupita, who was born with spinal encephala, but she does what she can to make her life as comfortable and as full as possible. She doesn’t stop there though. She also reaches out to the families of other children like Lupita. Children who need more than just three squares a day to survive. Children who can’t chew or swallow regular food and whose parents don’t have the facilities, means or maybe just don’t have the education, time or energy to prepare pureed foods. Paty knows the importance of these children getting balanced nutrition so she has created a program to supply these children with at least one nutritional supplement drink a day. A challenge for one child when the parent only has seasonal work, a monumental task when you are looking to supply seven or more children this one serving a day.
Add to that the task of getting these children to and from medical care and treatments with specialists who know how to deal with their particular problem when the closest specialist is most likely 100 miles away and you can begin to see the size of the task that faces Volunteers Without Limits each month. There there is the “normal” challenge of providing enough food to dispense to unemployed and impoverished families of San Felipe.
These women aren’t just sitting around waiting for someone else to fix things. They work at it daily. They collect and sort and sell everything they can in the thrift shop. They clean and cook when ever they get the opportunity.
This week the VSL ladies are putting on a “fiesta” at the park to raise funds so they can help a couple of special children get the medical care they need. You can help by showing up and buying dinner. I am sure they will cook up something yummy. While you are there, enjoy the music and entertainment. There is going to be dancers and singers and games. It is located at the park located between Mar Bermejo and Mar Blanco, just south of Chetumal… right next to the fire department and clinic. It starts at 5 p.m. Go and have fun … and help!
Sir Henry Taylor
He who gives only what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.
Wow! Sir Henry Taylor comes down pretty hard on thrift shop donations but then recycling and environmental waste were not topics of the 19th century. Looking at the choice between throwing something in the landfill or giving it to a charitable organization to sell, certainly the preferred option would be to donate it. Would it not? Perhaps Taylor was aiming deeper than that though. Perhaps he was looking at the motive behind the action. Does the giver give in a sincere effort to help another human being (or even the earth’s condition) or do they call for a pick up or drop items off because it is easier or more convenient than hauling the items to the dump or paying for their disposal?
San Felpe has many segundos which is Spanish for second hand or thrift shop. Some are more like continuous yard sales others like the one run by Voluntarios Sin Limites (Volunteers Without Limits) are set up to help raise funds to support a cause. In this case the proceeds go to the purchase of food and water for those in dire need and to help families with children living with severe disabilities, i.e. cerebral encephalitis, paralysis, Downs syndrome, dysmorphia, epilepsy, and loss of vision. Each month they distribute very basic food packages to about 400-500 people (beans, rice, flour, supplemented with eggs, oil or powdered milk when possible), . They also try to supply nutritional drinks (like Ensure), disposal diapers and wipes to the disabled children, elderly and handicapped. Sales of these donated items help pay for a small portion of these necessities.
So donating unwanted things is good, yes? Yes and no. Donating functioning items that are likely to be useful to someone else is a good thing. Donating broken electronics, that have been found to be not worth fixing or so obsolete that you can’t get parts, is just shifting the burden of disposal to someone else. If you could not fix an item, it is not likely that the charity you are donating it to has the resources to get it fixed either. If you have lost weight or are just bored with your clothing and it still looks nearly new, then they would probably be a bargain purchase by someone of limited means. If you have worn your favorite shirt until it is threadbare and falling apart, it isn’t likely someone else is going to buy it.
Similar consideration should be taken when donating food items. If the package is open or can damaged. Toss it away, don’t donate it. If it is past the recommended date for consumption most organizations will not distribute it for human consumption. It just isn’t wise or safe. You could ask around to see if someone is willing to take it to feed their livestock.
So how can you help? Seriously? Be generous. Give a little or lot, but give it on a regular basis. Organizations like Volunteers Without Limits have ongoing monthly expenses, just like you. Even though all the staff are volunteers and receive no salary, they still have rent, electricity, water, fuel and auto upkeep (they deliver to 40 elderly shut-ins twice a month), and each week they need to purchase food and travel vouchers for trips to take children to the hospital or doctor in Mexicali or Tijuana. They need a steady income of about $1500 dollars each month to carry on. Fund-raising events once or twice a year just don’t cover these expenses for the entire year. They depend on the monthly contributions of their faithful contributors to keep things going during the in-between times.
Giving doesn’t need to hurt a lot to make a difference. Go to the website of your favorite organization today and set up a re-occuring donation with Paypal. Sacrificing the cost of one latte a week could make a $20 a month pledge become a reality. If each one of the us who willingly spends $15-$30 for a dinner out did this, there would be no more need for silent auctions and raffles. We could just get together to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Odds are that if I came to your business or house personally as said “Hey, I need $20 to buy food for the folks down the street who are out of work,” you would reach in your pocket without hesitation. Why not do that now by setting up an automatic donation each month? Hours spent by volunteers putting together fund-raising activities could then be devoted to actually carrying on the work that needs to be done. Maybe visiting with a lonely widow or teaching a young child English. Who knows what could be accomplished instead? Do it now – let’s see what happens!