Overwhelming isn’t the word… our lovely community has rallied round to help the people of our region – thank you for all of the donations! This is truly good people helping good people. (Some of this amount is actual and some is pledged). We estimate that we can now feed everyone until August. But… based on latest information, we believe we will be needed through to Fall. As we try to establish the distribution system, there have been some bumps along the way. However, for an initiative that has only been in place since the middle of March, everyone has risen to the challenge. Here is our latest update so that you can see what is going on:
This has been our first week and we have delivered over 500 food rations based on the list from the delegacions/communities. Our target is now 750 – and based on the flood of inquiries, we won’t have a problem fulfilling this. We had originally estimated 600/650. We have been talking to EVERY household so that we know their actual needs, family sizes and so on. The forthcoming weeks won’t be as slow, but this ‘census’ has been vital to getting the requirements right. We were encouraged for example by families in El Cardonal who said that they have enough food for the next two weeks, but after that, they would need us. It’s good to know that people are being considerate of the wider community. Then, in other areas, we have been shocked that people have had nothing and have resorted to extremes such as borrowing money so that they have been able to buy food for the past two weeks.
Like the rest of the world, this is a fluid situation. A lot has changed since the Delegacion first estimated 650 households; some we thought would need support don’t, but other good people not on the radar have since reached out and requested help. Our earlier goal/time line was set at July but with more information about government action re the coronavirus protocol, realistically it’s going to be end of October. We are getting 100 ‘parcels’ for the whole delegacion from the government of La Paz County (this includes Los Barriles, San Bartolo, El Coro etc). While useful, unfortunately, they’re not enough to create balanced meals so we are using these donations to add to the LB Food Bank supplies. There may be support coming from Cabo County (Buena Vista south to Cabo). But so far unconfirmed. So, we are now revising our target upwards to feed 750 households until end October which is when we hope people should start to come back to town. However, if we do get more support from the Government/authorities, obviously we will revise this target and we will let you all know as soon as we hear. Wouldn’t it be great if we weren’t needed at all?!
We hope to get our dedicated LB Food Bank peso account confirmed at Intercam in the next day or so and we will share that as soon as possible – delays due to Semana Santa etc. However, if you wish to donate, please do so through the following:
• US tax deductible: www.leaders2give.org go to Los Barriles Food Bank.
• Check: Please email email@example.com for account number.
• Wire: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
• Venmo & Paypal: Jeane Harkleroad at email@example.com.
• Transferwise – https://transferwise.com/ Email Jeane at firstname.lastname@example.org for peso account.
• Cash – cash is also accepted at Joe’s Deli.
• Any other questions, please email email@example.com
Please do continue to donate dry foods, canned foods, long-life milk etc. We need to keep the rations going for as long as possible, and this is a great way of doing it. We are keeping back much of this food as it lasts longer. It will be invaluable as we get into the summer.
We will be publishing the weekly list of contributors on Monday on Facebook, so if your name hasn’t appeared yet, we hope it’s there on Monday. If you don’t see your name, please let us know although we do have donations coming in from numerous routes and it takes our small team some time to reconcile!
We are still working to a figure of $200 pesos per household per week. However, Joe and Luis are working tirelessly to get us better deals. They have already negotiated 20% off bulk prices such as milk. However, unfortunately we are seeing some costs increase. For example, the cost of beans from our supplier has nearly doubled.
We have been met by many people who just want to say thank you for the food parcels. It’s hard to feature them all, but if you go to our Facebook page, many of the Rotary Interact young people have been videoing the families and their beautiful thank you messages. This is all with permission and something they have wanted to do. The team of Interact young people from Los Barriles has been wonderful – showing up early and working hard all day long.
This is a true coming together of our community. We have many great volunteers making a difference from a variety of different cultures, backgrounds and ages all helping one another – Mexican, American, Canadian, European. Apologies if you have tried to volunteer but haven’t heard from us. Please don’t feel disheartened! We have been overwhelmed with emails! However, we believe that we will continue to need people as this is an on-going activity. So, we are creating a list and we will continue to reach out to people as we work through this list, and as rotas change over the weeks. Additionally, Joe is reducing the numbers of drivers and volunteers required as we go into the second week as we will be focusing more on delivery and less time on additional census activity. This will also help social distancing.
We believe we are getting better at encouraging our volunteers to observe social distancing and hygiene practices. Every volunteer will now be issued with a briefing sheet on how to behave; masks are mandatory and the appropriate use of gloves is encouraged. Each car has sanitizer provided for use for those volunteers who exit the cars.
The Spa Food Bank is providing an excellent service by feeding the people of El Coro and others. Thank you guys! Also thank you to Adam, Tracey, Deb and Leaders2Give for helping to get donations to the right place. We are also trying to help groups beyond our region set up initiatives to help their own people as it is starting to get critical beyond our boundaries too.
From trailers, additional lock-up space, valuable input on needy households, loans of trucks, donations of gas, people sending out emails to their networks…. the list goes on… it would be too long to list everyone who has contributed essential non-financial support to make the Food Bank work. A huge hug and thank you to these people!
As with all new initiatives, there’s going to be criticism. But please know that we are trying to address any wrinkles that crop up. We welcome constructive comments because that’s how this initiative will get sharper. But at a time when we may not all be feeling ourselves because of the current climate, let’s not throw rocks at one another. Please don’t curb the team’s and the community’s enthusiasm (and culture) because of your own personal optics. If you have a question or concern, please address it directly to us so that we can develop a solution. Let’s work together to get through these unprecedented times – and come out the other side as an even stronger, more tight-knit community.
Emma, Jeane, Joe, Luis, Ian