Earlier this year, I fled the cold and damp of Poulsbo to visit sunny and warm Manzanillo, Mexico. Vacation?
Nah, much better. I had the privilege of participating in a couple of Crossroads Rotary’s international projects.
One of them is our Caps for Cancer project. A group called AMANC (translated, it stands for Association to Help Youth with Cancer) accepts plastic caps and lids in exchange for treatment for children’s cancer treatments and other support. With fellow Crossroads member Karen Wilson, I got to visit Jennifer, a 7-year-old with leukemia, to deliver about 60 pounds of lids. When Karen came down earlier in the year, she and some other folks donated enough to make a big pile of lids on which Jennifer perched. She was thrilled, and her parents were incredibly grateful.
We’re working with Alaska Airlines to facilitate ongoing deliveries and hope to reach a sustainable, lasting solution.
The other part of my trip was related to our partnership and support of the Manzanillo Migrant Mission. This group delivers food parcels (or “despensas”) to area farms. Thanks to these, the farm workers can feed their families from the despensas, saving their meager wages to support their families in the offseason when they have no income. Most of them are from the poor states of southern Mexico, many from indigenous tribes that do not even speak Spanish. They are shuttled from farm to farm, migrating with the work.
The despensas include 27 pounds of foodstuffs which will feed a family of four for a week, for a total of $13 (US). Crossroads delivered more than $11,000, including a $3,500 District Community Grant.
This increased the program’s impact, and they could support more than 1,710 families, more than they’d ever helped in any past year. Over the years, their process has become very efficient. Each family gets a ticket to receive their despensa, and the tickets are compared against a list to ensure the families who need the food get it.
It was amazing to pull up and see the folks queued up, eager for our arrival.
The gratitude and relief on their faces and in their words were incredibly moving. Two volunteers, Karen, and a friend, also provided treat bags for the workers’ children. In some villages, there was a second queue: the eager, smiling children.
The Kingston Club has also joined us with a generous donation, and we look forward to continuing to support this worthy organization.