May 19, 2020

Muchas Gracias

I first became aware of how difficult things were becoming on the Isla in mid April because of Covid – 19.  Dallas ( my contact on Stone Island ) had raised as much as he could through his personal contacts and others already on the Isla. He was able to give out 50 packages of food to those in need on April 17th. I decided to reach out to my blog readers on April 14th asking for donations.  You can read that here http://www.contessajewall.com/2020/04/14/can-you-please-help-the-isla/.  Based on the very generous response of my wonderful blog readers, I thought why not also send this out via a direct email to every single person that I had an email address for within the RV parks and to others who winter on the Isla in a variety of rentals. There were many who I had not been able to contact and eventually on May 5th, I was able to send out a donation request through the RV park email coordinator to those who might want to make a donation.

The donations have been very generous from my blog readers, from RVers in both parks, from winter residents of the Isla and even a few donations from folks at Estrella del Mar. To date, I have been able to raise approximately $6094.00CAD or approximately $4317.45USD or approximately 103,428 Mexican pesos. On April 24th, Dallas and his wife Rocio, who was born on Isla de la Piedra, were able hand out 130 food packages as an immediate result of your donations. Because of your continued donations, they were able to do it again on May 1st.  On both May 8th and May 15th, again 130 despensas were given out but with an extra addition.  Frank, a gentleman who lives in the Colonia on the Isla, donated 130 fresh chickens each of those two weeks to be handed out along with the regular food package. I don’t know him  but certainly hope to meet him next time we are on the Isla and give him a huge thank you hug. Thanks to you all, 130 families have received food for the last four weeks.

Each food package contains one kilo each of rice, beans and flour, plus pasta, a container of tomato paste, one litre of oil and of milk plus fresh tomatoes, potatoes, onions and carrots. Starting with the May 1st food package a kilo of  Masa to make tortillas has been added.  It is not shown in this photo.

Fortunately there are many hands to help prepare the despensas.

It is a huge amount of work for Rocio and Dallas to purchase the food, get it delivered to their home and to bag it and then deliver it to those in need.  Rocio goes out into the community and checks in with the leaders in the various parts of the Colonia and the rest of the Isla as to who in is great need of food. Each week families are varied as to who gets a despensa based on their immediate need.  Even for Dallas in these times of social distancing it is a challenge to get to the bank to withdraw cash to pay for the food. Sometimes he has to go everyday as some days the bank only gives out so many pesos. There are others who help with small donations if they can of food or even a few pesos. Plus there are many who come and help package the food every week. The fishermen are going out everyday and donate fish to those who want some. It is my understanding that there are also a few others who are out giving food to those in need in the Colonia including Carlos ( again I do not know him ) who runs a type of soup kitchen. The community is coming together to make sure everyone gets through these very difficult times. Once Dallas provided formula and diapers to a newborn.

So happy to have their food package.

In response to an article in a Mazatlan newspaper that mentioned how the local government had forgotten those on Isla de la Piedra, the mayor of Mazatlan arranged for a one time donation to 100 families on the Isla.  That despensa included 1 package of Tostadas, 1 package of pasta, 1 roll of toilet paper, cooking oil, frijoles, some sugar, some rice and a few eggs.  Too little for too many in need.

Dallas says that “a lot of Mexicans here on the Isla say thank you thank you thank you and God Bless. We have had many stop us and tell us thank you and God Bless over and over. We tell them it’s because of the trailer parks and others that have donated.”

The past few weeks Rocio has been giving out tickets for the 130 food packages and has asked people to come and pick up their despensa at their home.  It is taking too much time and too much fuel to drive from home to home.  It has worked out very well.  The first week folks were crowding in but now they are maintaining a certain amount of distance between each other and many are now wearing masks.

This was taken this past Friday.  The chicken is in the green bag.

Thank you Rocio and Dallas for your very hard work.  The following is a 17 second video that Dallas took this past Friday as they prepared to start giving away the despensas.

At this time it looks like we will be able to give another 130 food packages out on May 22nd and Frank is very generously providing 130 chickens to go with them.  Dallas thinks that there should be enough money left to do a final 130 packages to give out on May 29th.  Frank is going to see if he can get some donations from those currently on the Isla to pay for the chickens.  Come May 30th there is no more money left to buy food. With the odd donation they will feed as many as they can.  According to Rocio the price of rice and oil has gone up as well.

This morning I asked Dallas to say a few words for me to include here for you to read.
“The people receiving the despensas are very happy and grateful. Many of them comment on the posts ( his weekly Facebook posts with some photos ).  If things reopen on June 1st then things will probably be ok. If not it will continue to get worse. Pretty sure they have decided not to reopen schools until August. Summer vacation here is the high season now. Last year over 780k people came during the two months of summer vacation. If they do not open up for that my feeling is that it will get very desperate around here. Rocio and other Mexicans are very concerned that maybe even if they open people might not have any money to come to the beach and spend at the restaurants. Rocio and I and everyone else are very grateful to you for the tremendous amount of support we have received as a result of your fund raising.  We couldn’t do what we do without all of your financial assistance. We appreciate you all very much.
Rocio says all the people say God bless everyone that is making the despensas happen. They are all very grateful.”

Both food packages.

This will be posted on my blog on May 19th as well as emailed to everyone who gave a donation that I have an email address for.  Thank you all so very much.  Your donations have brought me to tears many times over the past five weeks.  I never dreamed that together we could raise so much to feed so many.
Money is tight for everyone during these troubled times.  I am not asking for further donations but I have to add that Dallas and I will continue to receive donations. I am asking Canadians to e-Transfer their donation to me @ contessa549@gmail.com.  I will then send the entire amount to Dallas, in one transaction thus saving a $3.00 fee per donation.

Americans can make a donation via PayPal directly to @ dallasyrocio@yahoo.com.

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Muchas Gracias”

  1. Canadians with all our bailout programs don’t even have a clue how things are in other countries….I hope your friends on the Isla stay safe and healthy and can continue doing this until the need lessens. Everyone needs to consider helping those that really need it (at home and away) right now

  2. SandyM says:

    Thank you Contessa, Rocio and Dallas and each of you who has donated both Pesos and time. This warms my heart and I am so glad to see this taking place. “livingrichonthecheap” in their comment on your blog has it right and it fits for us here in USA, too. The last few years we have stayed in Rincon de Guayabitos so that is where my donations go – so many more people in that area and many of them need food. Cesar Novoa and his wife and many, many helping hands are doing an outstanding service with feeding the people as well as other groups in that area. Thankful for all who can donate and those that are there that work so hard to feed the people every day.

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