By Agi Saari
When you say the word "orphanage", it typically brings up images of scarcity, poverty, despair and maybe even hopelessness. Imagine if the idea of orphanages made you think of empowerment, giving and generosity! This is a story about some very special kids in Mexico and it is unlike most stories you will hear.
As the tsunami of fear and uncertainty related to COVID-19 moves through the world and the stay-at-home orders have become a reality for many, tourism and farming, two of the leading industries in the area, have been profoundly impacted. As such, the communities in Baja, many that are already impoverished, have become financially devastated. Many people have been left without income. They have lost their work in the fields or in the service industry, and they are left with very limited ways to feed their families.
Entry into and out of many cities have been shut down, which is preventing groups like Baja Love Outreach, a So-Cal based non-profit, from reaching those they serve. Baja Love supports and enables eight orphanages in and around Maneadero through a number of programs. The team of volunteers personally delivers essentials to over 150 children. Twice a year, a group brings school supplies and backpacks. They provide clothing, and shoes. They build playgrounds and deliver appliances. They fund surgeries and dental work. Above all, the organization values interaction and personal relationships with the children and their caregivers.
It is those very relationships that have allowed a unique alliance to form in a time of immense hardship in the area. The orphanages began seeing a need to support their own communities where food is becoming scarce. With funding from Baja Love, the orphans have been assembling care packages and delivering them to their neighbors in greatest need. The provisions include food for one week, locally made face masks, cleaning supplies and soap.
The orphans have become a vessel of love by serving their neighbors. The kids are lovingly assembling the packages, giving them to their community and learning about the power of assisting others. They are not just delivering food, they are delivering hope. A double blessing!
“That's the beauty of the project. They are learning how to serve and the power of service. It is profound,” said Chappel Ferrin, Baja Love Outreach co-founder.
So far, around 40 families and 150 individuals have benefited. The donations have been accepted with tears, gratitude and prayer. Baja Love is committed to partnering with the orphans in this manner until all funding has been exhausted.
Editor's Note: Many non-profit organizations that work in Baja have been deeply impacted by Covid-19. In an effort to drum up support, Baja Bound will be featuring a different non-profit every few weeks. In the meantime, please visit some of our friends in the links below and make a donation if you have the means to do so!