Chicxulub Food Bank

On the fourteenth of every month Sharon, founder of the Chicxulub Food Bank, gathers her team and goes shopping for all of the items to fill the monthly ‘dispensa’ bag. David & Shirley are her shopping helpers and drive her to Progreso in their Explorer to find all the required items and load them all up. We did not partake in the shopping this month as I believe they have this down to a science and we would only get in the way. Our family met up with them at the Bamboo Beach Restaurant in Chicxulub where they were just starting to separate the items and put them in the bags. For us to be there at 11am to help with the packing, we had to take Evan & Noah out of school early, which did not disappoint them at all.

Evan & Noah’s grandparents have decided to help them sponsor a family (maybe two) for the year by sending $25 CDN to them each month which equates to about 330 pesos. The current program for sponsoring a family with the Chicxulub food bank is $75 for the year (900 pesos). So between now and June the boys should be able to sponsor 2 families. Evan and Noah were involved this week with the packing of the food items and handing out the “dispensa” bags to the families. They both did very well and we would like to thank not only Sharon for this opportunity but the other Canadian volunteers, David & Shirley, who let our boys jump right in to their well run machine. They certainly provided a great system which even our 5 and 7 year old could quickly grasp and understand the mechanics of. It was nice to see them let the boys take an active role in this process.

David & Shirley have a fantastic system for arranging the items and then packing them all in the bags. We did our best to ensure every bag had all eight items for each family. This included: Aceite, Frijol Negro, Arroz, Sal, Azucar, Pasta, Leche, Galleta’s. Evan and Noah put all the items in a plastic bag in the proper order while Lyn & I held the bags open for them. Then Evan would walk the bags carefully over to the Panda wall for safe keeping until the next day when they would be given out to all 81 families. Noah & Lyn were in charge of the final count to ensure all 81 bags ( also known as “dispensa”) were there.

On the fifteenth of every month, Sharon distributes the “bags” to each family between 11am and 12pm. This is a very strict rule for her and if you are not in line by 12pm you will not receive your dispensa. When we arrived at 10:45am, there was a full line up of people with their families waiting patiently in the shade to receive their dispensa. Some of these people had been waiting since 8am as they are always worried that there won’t be enough to go around…..they don’t realize that with their card they always get there “dispensa”. Although Sharon has a great system in place where all of the eighty-one families have special cards and you must bring this card to receive your monthly dispensa, people are still wary that they may run out. These 81 families have been carefully  chosen by Sharon with the help of the community nurses. There is an interview process which involves Sharon visiting and speaking with each family to ensure they are in need.

On this day, Evan & Noah jumped into different roles. Noah would help gather the ninth item, laundry detergent, and ensure Sharon had at least one on the table at all times to give to the next person. Evan would bring over the next dispensa and place it on the table beside her under the supervision of Shirley and David. Again, thank you for allowing the boys to participate. We are so happy to be able to volunteer and know that we will not be able to take the boys out of school for every distribution day so it was great to see them hard at work. Of course, when I heard that Evan had ordered papas fritas from the owner of the restaurant I almost lost it! This was difficult to explain to him that he could not eat in front of all the people lined up for food but I do believe he understood and waited almost patiently until the last dispensa was provided.

As I was taking pictures today of people coming and going I noticed many small families leaving with out receiving a dispensa. This is very discouraging to see but they are people who want to be on the list but have not yet registered with Sharon. Sharon will begin the registration and interview process again in January and hopefully will have enough donations to add more families to the list. There are definitely rules applied by Sharon and her team to ensure people in need are receiving the dispensa’s.

Today was a very busy day for the Chicxulub Food Bank because Sharon needed all of her databases updated with proper phone numbers, addresses, birth dates and ages of all children. Also on the list of today’s duties was the vitamin distribution which was done by Brin and Lyn, they also had to ensure the proper vitamins were given to the right family and that the ages of all the children and birth dates were correct.

One of the pictures below shows a copy of the vitamin program and a family where a grandmother has had 3 of her daughters move back in with her and all the grand children. Yikes! (sorry I removed this photo as it had the family name on it and I thought that may be politically incorrect) The Vitamin Program was created to ensure children are receiving proper nutrients up to the age of 10. There is also a Newborn Program sponsored by the IWC (International Womans Club) where the Chicxulub Food Bank gives the family 40L of bottled water, 1 case of powdered formula, Newborn vitamins and a baby blanket. The mother receives this along with her regular dispensa in the first month after the baby is born.

There is another picture of a little boy who is turning one next week and physically looks like he is about six months old. Seeing him today shows that there is a definite need for the Vitamin Program. While some of the children look well nourished and properly dressed this is not always the case. It is amazing to watch the families as they walk away with smiles on their faces. Occasionally you will see a little girl (or boy) getting one of the galleta’s for the walk home.

At Christmas the Chicxulub Food Bank tries to give a special dispensa with extra items for the families. If the family is newly registered in that year they will receive a blanket. Always needed are knitted toques and slippers. The fisherman all wear the toques as most of the fishing is done at night in the cool air. Slippers are needed for sleeping as the temperature can drop down to 10 degrees Celsius, which when you are living in a house with no windows, doors, or electricity – socks are definitely appreciated.

Sharon has definitely inspired us with the Chicxulub Food Bank. Knowing we can help those in need and teach our children the same has been a great experience for our family. If anyone reading this wishes to donate to this amazing cause please visit the Chicxulub Food Bank Donation page. If you are visiting the area, there are other ways to help Sharon as well so please visit her website.

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10 Responses to “Chicxulub Food Bank”

  1. Plse send me these newsletters. says:

    Will provide $75 for a family and wld like to work at the food bank when I hopefully arrive in

    January.

    Canadian or American $?

    Suzanne

    • Kurt says:

      Hi Suzanne,
      Thank you for reading our little blog and donating to the Chicxulub Food Bank. It really is amazing how this amount of money can make a difference in a families lives. The Chicxulub Food Bank donations page on the internet can be found at: Chicxulub Donations.
      I have sent you an email and cc’d Sharon on it to help you make donation arrangements and to volunteer.

      Kurt

  2. Grandma and Grandpa says:

    Great article and so glad the boys are part of this. It’s a great learning experience for them. We’ll send a little extra money so they can also go purchase socks and touques for the Christmas bags.

  3. Robin says:

    What a good opportunity to care for the less fortunate.

    Is Sharon the lady in yellow?

    The children look like they have had hard lives. Their eyes don’t sparkle.
    We had a bit of this experience when we were at the mission in the Baha, and quite a bit while I was teaching at the First Nations reserve.

    I didn’t see hopelessness in the adults eyes, and that is good.
    It must be hard for them to wait a month for their bag, but an encouragement also, to know that they are cared about.

    Aceite, Frijol Negro, Arroz, Sal, Azucar, Pasta, Leche, Galleta’s. I know what the Pasta is, what about the rest?

  4. Robin says:

    I love the Panda bear.
    Your boys are growing older fast.

    • Kurt says:

      It really is amazing at how much they have grown in the last 4 months, it is like there is something in the water here! We had to break down and buy Evan 6 new t-shirts the other day (at a cost of about $2.50 each!). At least they are wearing shorts all the time so you can not see their ankles if they were wearing jeans.

  5. Robin says:

    I can’t look at all the pictures but I see now that one of the things supplied is oil, is that Arroz?
    There probably is rice, beans, flour, and I see crackers. Sal would be salt?

  6. Monica says:

    Hi, This is great, and people like myself might just happen upon it while looking up Chicxulub or Progreso for an upcoming visit (like a Carnival cruise ship stop), and provide to one the food bank’s many programs. Just to let you know, your link to the food bank is broken. Their new webpage is:
    http://foodbankchicxulub.com/
    Sharon even has a cruise ship program, for short visits.
    Take care!

    • Kurt says:

      Thank you and my apologies for the broken link! You would think I would have caught that as I built their website for them!


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