Update from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle Food Pantry

Amy Welch - Amigos de La Cruz
April 28, 2020


Here is this week's update. We are now feeding almost 200 families and some pets thanks to you all for your donations! 

Below is a lovely update written by my partner in the project, Tim Fisher and Erin Quinn.

It was written so beautifully that I asked if I could use it this week for my update.  I can't wait to get back to help out on the ground. Enjoy!

Day 19 - Week 3

La Cruz is quiet. It’s always quiet, but now there are noticeably fewer folks out and about. The vibe is much more like sleepy mid-summer, although we’re just past Semana Santa and should still have hundreds here enjoying the perfect weather. Thankfully, we see more masks on more people each day. It’s hard to smile at your neighbours in a mask – but an “Hola” and a “thumbs up” works well, too.

The Word is Out

We started with 26 names, added 19 more, and quickly grew to 50 families. Jumped to 88 families for Week 2. Later this week, we will deliver to 200 families.

When a truck full of food goes out on the street, folks come around and ask if they can be on the list, or name a neighbour or family member who needs help.
 
On Monday, when the Tree House Bar and Grill opened at 4:00 pm for takeout, there was a crowd outside. Marichuy spread the line down the block (social distancing!) and patiently collected their information. 79 new families! On Tuesday, 25 more! We are growing very fast, but we are up to the task - thanks to the talents and energy of our dedicated volunteers. We have more and more for you to do each day! (If anyone has any donations of canned food or dried goods, The Tree House at 68 Coral is our drop off location – after 4:00 pm.)
 
Arroyo Seco

You may never have been to this part of town. Past the light at Langosta heading towards Punta de Mita, there is a bridge. The “Dry Riverbed” colonia stretches up the hill on the inland side. Thanks to Erin for this wonderful first hand account!
 
It was her smile that caught my attention. Her face lit up and her brown eyes sparkled. She was about ten with a long brown pony-tail, wearing a pink polka dot t-shirt. She walked past me a few times, as we were in her neighbourhood of Arroyo Seco, and she had places to go.
 
We had list of names and addresses, carefully compiled into a spreadsheet. The straight lines and columns of a spreadsheet can’t exactly capture the liveliness or creativity in design found in a small neighbourhood barrio. The architecture runs the gamut from a two-story house with a large balcony to a semi-hut with a covered chain link fence as a wall. Some streets remain un-named. Valentin and Kiki started by finding the first address, Cirilo came with his truck full of food, and I went to talk to the lady that ran a little food stand along the arroyo seco in front of the footbridge. I thought it would be polite to explain who we were and why we had descended with two vehicles, full of bagged food, like a small band of locusts on her neighbourhood. The shop lady was carving a large pumpkin and I explained that her pumpkin would definitely win a prize at Halloween. The pumpkin pieces were then set out to be sold, a great vegetable to add to a caldo soup.

The search for families in their respective homes began, and large bags of fresh vegetables and staples were personally delivered to the families on our list. Some people were very shy about receiving the “despensa,” but their gratefulness in receiving the food was clear. Each bag was beyond full, containing a variety of items. Cooking oil, flour, ground soy-bean flour, beans, rice, pasta plus tomatoes, chayote (squash), onions, peppers. Also included were soap and toilet paper and a few canned goods. A kilo of eggs was also given out, but a few people with egg-producing hens politely said to share them with another family.
 
Up through the arroyo we went, stopping off at different houses, asking for directions, and finding our neighbours that were in need of food. We came ready with prepared sheets of paper that people could fill out if they were in need of food. We gave out the slips of paper and then picked up the completed forms on the way back down the hill. Food was distributed on Friday and many in the community were going to have a much better weekend with some food for the family and the knowledge that many people care.

On the return down the arroyo, I saw my new young friend again, and I told her that she had a beautiful smile. Her whole face brightened. It lit up the world.

The Merry Masketeers

Sewing machines are humming all over town. We’ve distributed masks with our despensas and left some for free pickup at a few local stores. Some volunteers are concentrating on making PPE supplies for the hospital in San Pancho where most local residents would go with symptoms. The word is the hospital has NADA.
 
The latest government release says that schools may reopen around June 1st – almost a month after our peak. Today’s chatter in the group is “let’s make a mask for every school child in town.” That’s hundreds of children (probably over 500 masks) but if you witnessed the energy and enthusiasm, you would not doubt that these volunteers can do anything! (If you have any cloth, sheets or elastic that can be put to good use, please contact LaCruzFoodPantry@gmail.com) or drop off at The Tree House Bar & Grill.
 
Loaves and Fishes

Our group is not just dedicated – it’s talented, thrifty, energetic, wise and harmonious. We are committed to keeping it simple – there are mouths to feed. We’re buying in bulk when we can (some hoarding is starting to raise prices), hitting the sales, and determined to include as many local providers in the mix as possible. We’ve passed out masa (cornmeal) and oil for those who still make tortillas at home – and hope soon to include fresh tortillas for those who don’t.

We live on the beautiful Bahia de Banderas and one of the most abundant fisheries in the world. Last evening, a few of our crew were brainstorming about how best to tap into this resource, and who should walk in to the Tree House but one of our local fisherman with a load of 50 beautiful fresh-caught lenguados (sole).
 
"These are for you," he said, "My family needed a despensa last week. I just wanted to say, Gracias."
 
Our goal is to provide 250 families with one meal daily in weekly grocery delivery for a family of four, from April through October. 305 pesos per family x 30 weeks x 250 families = 2,287,500 pesos (approx. $91,473 USD).

Tim Fisher, Fiona MacNicol-Clark, Lina Bureau, Annette & Cirilo, and Marichuy & Alfredo and over a dozen volunteers ready to help our neighbors. Join US! Email is LaCruzFoodPantry@gmail.com.

Food and household items can be received at Tree House Bar & Grill, Coral 68, from 4:00-10:00 pm, call 322-182-4026.
  
Credit Card or Check:

For USA tax donation: Banderas Bay Charities, Inc.

For Canadian tax donation: Canadian Children's Shelter of Hope Foundation, indicate for BBC and in memo section Amigos Food

For Mexican tax donation:  Amigos bank account at Scotiabank - contact Amy Welch for more information at amywelchpdx@comcast.net.

Our accountant TeranRojas will send you a donation tax receipt.

Thank you to all our donors! We can’t do this without the help of every one of you - it truly takes a village to keep a village alive. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts - together we are strong. Juntos somos Fuertes!
 
For more information, email La Cruz de Huanacaxtle Food Pantry at LaCruzFoodPantry@gmail.com or visit La Cruz Food Pantry or visit the GoFundMe site.

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