OMG! You ROCK!

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  • My Mazatlecan nieces made delicious brownies and packed them in mason jars, then sold them to raise money to buy toys. I am so proud of their caring for others.
  • Helen James had her birthday party and asked everyone attending to bring toys for Pollos’ kids instead of gifts. Thanks to her friends we have three garbage bags full of brand new gorgeous toys.
  • Kathryn Stillings, a friend and co-worker, requested that we donate to Pollos instead of giving her a Christmas gift this year.
  • Salsa and Salsa took up a collection for a second year in a row and donated the proceeds.
  • Friends went all around town to collect gift certificates and items for our raffles and the silent auction.
  • About a dozen different women sewed and crocheted items during the year to donate to Pollos. Hey, guys? You make things, too; I know you do! 😉 There is always next year.
  • My friends and nieces showed up to a charity breakfast and, when we were short on wait staff due to people not showing up, they volunteered to help (even though they’d paid for tickets).
  • Other friends volunteered to sell raffle tickets, even though they’d also paid to attend. So generous!
  • Jeanette Leraand sold dozens of tickets, brought her zumba group to entertain us at the breakfast, and conducted a 50/50 raffle, out of the generosity of her heart.
  • Sonrisas, a local charity that gives scholarships to deserving yet needy young people, donated items to help us. I donate my photos to their fundraiser calendar each year; what goes around comes around!
  • Nearly 400 people showed up this morning to a fundraiser breakfast. Nationals showed curiosity about our foreign customs (“what’s a silent auction and did I win?”), we expats learned about Mexican customs (“2 hours of door prizes?”) and we all enjoyed one another’s company and a common purpose.
  • And you, no doubt, did something awesome as well!

I could go on and on. We are so incredibly blessed in this community with people who love and give, who want to help others and act on that desire. God bless you all! And thank you Yolanda Medina, who started Desayuno de los Pollos 27 years ago in honor of her namesake daughter. Please know that 4000 families, many of whom live in houses constructed of lonas / vinyl, cardboard or recycled pallets, most of whom don’t have electricity or water, will eat well for two weeks at Christmas and New Year’s because of YOU!

An extended community of expats and foreigners sold 700 tickets to the Desayuno de los Pollos / Chicken Breakfast this year, and 100% of the money taken in (180 pesos/person) goes to buy whole chickens and food / despensas for needy families (food, preparation and serving are all donated). The silent auction that I’ve been in charge of, to which a whole community of people contribute, raised 38,000 pesos this year to buy food and chickens. All of this means your donations and purchases are helping feed families for two weeks at Christmas time! Bless you! You totally and completely rock!

Please patronize the businesses that support those in most need in our community. I will list some of them below. Many others contributed to the raffles but I don’t have your names; let me know and I’ll add you to the list. Please, next time you visit one of these businesses, thank them for supporting Desayuno de los Pollos and your Mazatlán community; tell them they are good community citizens and that you appreciate them.


Ana María Osuna Rose Massage
Azteca Inn
Casa de Leyendas
Chuy’s Organics
Gaia Bistrot
Galería de Rosy
Galería Uno
Irma Alicia Gastelúm Lizárraga, artista
Karen Devine
Martha Parra, artista
May Woodford, fiber artist
Quince Letras Wrought Iron
Ricardo’s Leather Shop
La Rosa de las Barras de Piaxtla
Wendy of the baby quilts

I don’t know the names of everyone who so generously contributed, so please let me know if yours is missing and I’ll add it in!

For those of you who want to help pack food, THANK YOU. The Medina family will start packing things next Wednesday, December 14th. You can head over to Quince Letras almost any day from then till the 24th to help; call one of them first to check. They are celebrating the weddings of TWO different children this year, so EXTRA KUDOS to their family for doing the “Chickens” this year as well! I no doubt would have cancelled for sanity’s sake.

We will see the rest of you on December 24th! Instructions are in the link. Blessed holidays! Just imagine what a wonderful world it would be if everyone were as generous and considerate of others as those involved in this effort. I like that thought; we might just grow some justice and equity in this world. It’s a pleasure to know you all and work with you.

Silent Auction Sat, Dec. 10th

pollosposter2016Are you excited for the Desayuno de los Pollos? Do you have your tickets? Proceeds from the breakfast every year go to feed the needy at Christmas, and the past few years, with your help, we’ve fed and clothed nearly 3000 families. 2016 is our 27th year. The breakfast is on Saturday, December 10th, from 8:30 at the API cruise ship dock.

The full breakfast includes a raffle of major prizes—always including a few artesanally drafted wrought iron tables—a raffle of dozens of smaller prizes, a holiday bazaar of handcrafted items, and a terrific silent auction.

The silent auction tends to have loads of good items to buy, helping you and helping our cause: meals, stays at hotels, pieces of art, gift certificates, decorator items for the home… Click here to see some of the items we have had in past years.

This year we will have several wrought iron pieces, thanks to master craftsman Jorge Medina from Quince Letras. We also give many thanks to fiber artist May Woodford, who made an incredibly gorgeous white designer throw for us. Click on any photo below to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Please help us help others by donating your time or talent, or an item or two in your home that are lovely yet no longer to your liking. Perhaps you have a favorite restaurant or store that you could ask to donate an item for the silent auction? You can download a gift certificate form here, then just let me know and I’ll pick it up.

The bazaar is also going to rock this year. Many thanks to Karen Devine, who hand sewed a bunch of gorgeous bags that will be for sale in the bazaar. You can see some of her colorful work below. Thank you, Karen!

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May Woodford also made eleven afghans that she has asked us to hand out on December 24th to help those in need stay warm this winter. Yes, when you live in a cardboard box, the wind whipping through makes even the tropics feel freezing.

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Thanks for joining us and helping out! Invite your local and international neighbors and friends! If you can’t attend on the 10th, please donate or participate in some other way. Thank you!

Chicken Breakfast 2016

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Kids charming the camera woman while they line up for candy!

Want to have the best Christmas ever? Join us to bring joy to those in need! It’s a whole lot of fun, and a memory you will never forget!

Since 1990, Yolanda Medina and her family from the Quince Letras area of town have spearheaded an effort to feed those in need at Christmas time. In 2015, we fed over 3000 families with your help!

What is the “Chicken Breakfast?”
It is a two-step process to feed the neediest in our community.

First is a fundraising breakfast held in early December to raise money to buy one whole chicken and ten days’ worth of food for each family—we buy for as many families as we possibly can.

Second, on Christmas Eve morning (24 December), dozens of us gather together to load trucks and go out to the invasiones, the poorest, “squatter” areas of Mazatlán, to make people happy and hand out the goods! We give the chickens and foodstuffs, plus gently used clothing, linens, shoes, coats, and new toys and candy.

It is important to know that several of us go out to the squatter areas the week before Christmas. There we meet with area leaders and go around with them to hand out tickets, to ensure that those in need receive what they need, and that no one cheats or “double dips.” We especially want to ensure that we get food and clothes to the elderly and the disabled, so we go door to door to make sure everyone knows about the event, and to make plans to get things to those who can’t walk to the delivery site.

The history:

Yolanda Medina’s daughter, María Yolanda, was very sick. She and her husband kept vigil in the hospital, taking care of all their daughter’s needs. As Yoly’s sister-in-law Isa tells the story:

“It was Christmas Eve 1990, and María Yolanda’s days were counted. Yolanda and her late husband, Modesto, were in no mood to eat, let alone have a Christmas Dinner with all the fixings. But that night, a woman knocked on the hospital room door and peeked to see if there was someone with the patient. She came in to hand Yolanda and Modesto a box with a hot Christmas Dinner meal — and told them Merry Christmas and that God was with them. Yolanda never forgot that gesture.

After María Yolanda passed away, Yolanda got us all together and told us what had happened. So, the first couple of years, we had culinary arts students volunteer their time to prepare a Christmas Dinner meal, with donated ingredients from friends and family, and all of us volunteered to fill disposable thermal boxes with the hot dinners, load them into cars and pick-up trucks, and off we went, to hospitals, traffic intersections, parks — wherever we thought we might find people that, for one reason or another, wouldn’t be privy to a nice Christmas Dinner.

However, this was a huge effort, and very expensive, so we couldn’t cover that much ground. So we thought in terms of something more practical, something that could be cooked and prepared at home. This way, we could make sure many more families could have a Christmas Dinner. That’s when we started the Desayuno de los Pollos.”

How to help:

  1. Buy (or sell) tickets for the fundraising breakfast. Contact me at dianne@vidamaz.com, or buy them from anyone selling them around town. Post and Ship in the Golden Zone (beside Dolce Mami, across from FedEx) will have tickets also.
  2. Download a poster you can print out to help sell tickets or collect donations. Write on the poster with your details.
  3. Make crafts or baked goods to be sold at the bazaar during the breakfast.
  4. Donate (or gather) items for the silent auction (download a gift certificate, artwork, restaurant meals, hotel stays, airfares…)
  5. Help set up, cook, serve or clean up after the breakfast.
  6. Donate money (in person or click on the link), gently used clothing, diapers, lightly worn shoes, linens, blankets coats, new toys, or candy. 100% goes to those in need. Post and Ship will be happy to collect items if you drop them off there (beside Dolce Mami, across from FedEx).
  7. Help pack the food into packets—the week before Christmas.
  8. Help us load the trucks and deliver the goodies on December 24th! This is, of course, the most fun and a terrific tradition with friends and family.

When and where is the breakfast?
In 2016, it’s on Saturday December 10th, 8:30-10:30 am in the cruise ship dock/API. Please join us and bring all your friends! Your 180 peso ticket includes a full homemade breakfast, coffee and juice, a ticket for the door prize, a ticket for the raffle, and access to the Christmas bazaar.

API dock is on Emilio Barragón nearly across from the new OXXO. Below is a map. If you can’t find it, ask any taxi driver or blue shirt/Tourism Volunteer.

API

How can I get to Quince Letras on December 24th, or to help pack?
Come by 6:30 am if you are driving a truck, 7:00 am if you are helping us load and deliver. We usually finish by 11:30 or noon, but some years it’s taken longer (depends how many routes you participate in).

Quince Letras, corner of Tampico and Francisco Villas streets We load from either side of this

Quince Letras, corner of Tampico and Francisco Villas streets We load from either side of this “Coca Cola” store on the corner

LOCATION: 15 (QUINCE) LETRAS, corner of Francisco Villa and Tampico, just down the hill from the Church of Cristo Rey (Christ the King—photo below).

  1. From Avenida del Mar turn East at the Fisherman’s Monument.
  2. Go to the first light and turn right.
  3. Proceed one block and turn left (Francisco Villa street, just before the Pemex station).
  4. Go two blocks.
  5. If you are NOT driving a truck or transporting supplies, please park in the next block. This will give us room for loading. Once you’ve parked, walk another block down, past the iron works business called “Quince Letras.” On the corner of Francisco Villa and Tampico you will see a small store with a bright red “Coca Cola” hand painted on the outside, across from a tortillería. A door next to the Cocheras Automaticas business will be open. That’s Yolanda’s mother’s house, and it’s from there that we’ll be loading.
  6. If you are driving a truck or transporting supplies, please drive up to Tampico street (the “Coca Cola” store on your right on the corner), turn right, and park. We will be loading right there.

IMG_0669If you can’t find it, just ask someone for “Quince Letras” or “Desayuno de los Pollos/Medina family.” Everyone in the area will know.

Merry Christmas to all! And see you there!

  1. Download a poster you can print out to help sell tickets or collect donations. Thank you for your help!
  2. Download and view or use a PowerPoint presentation with a full explanation of the project: chicken-breakfast-presentation
  3. Download a gift certificate to fill out, and we’ll advertise your business or service at the breakfast! Just contact us and we’ll pick it up!

Have questions? Contact the organizers:

  • Jorge Medina (speaks English well) on his mobile, (669) 110-0744
  • Yolanda Medina (some English) at (669) 431-4529

A Very Happy Christmas for All

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU all for your help, participation, prayers, support and enthusiasm! We gave out 2512 whole chickens and 1800 despensas. That means that 2000 of the most marginalized families in our community are able to eat for two weeks because of you. Woot woot!

I am especially proud this year of my son, Danny. He began helping with the Chicken Breakfast when he was six or seven years old, when we came down here as tourists. This year I watched him jump in and take charge, helping organize volunteers for a more effective handout. He loaded chickens and despensas, and smiled all the while.

I am also very proud of our nieces, the Hernandez girls: Arely, Vanessa, Yolanda and our ahijada, Mara. Every year they’ve participated they do it a bit more actively. First they gathered some clothes, then they waited tables at the breakfast, then they got friends to donate items for the auction and bazaar. This year, in addition to all that, they also collected nearly 200 brand new toys to hand out to the kids! Brava, chicas!

I want to thank that terrific church in Canada (Calgary?) that collected clothing. We got 1/3 of it, thanks to Sue Parker and Vecinos con Cariño. It was a lot, and people LOVED it.

Wondering what to collect for next year? The most popular items this year were:

  1. TOWELS! OMG! People nearly stampeded for the 20 or 30 towels our family donated. Next year we’ve got to find a hotel or two that is buying new pool towels and wants to give their old ones to us!
  2. Mosquito coils. We happened to have an extra few packs, and people were ecstatic. Definitely a good item to add to the list.
  3. Chanclas/sandals and shoes. Everyone loved them. But, please, give us gently used items. This year we had to throw out three large trash bags full of items that were way beyond any useful life, which breaks our hearts. This is an attempt to bring joy to people.

Every year the handout of the chickens is different than the year before. We improve our systems, we learn. This year we were all packed and ready to go on the 23rd. Then, at 7 pm on the 23rd, someone turned in their ticket money from the breakfast, and someone else made a donation. So, Yolanda and Jorge went shopping, arriving home at 10 pm! Then, when we all arrived on the morning of the 24th, we had more packing to do before we loaded the trucks. It was quite the surprise, but all the volunteers gamely joined in and we had an extra 500 despensas packed in no time. Then, to make up for lost time, we had TWO lines of people simultaneously loading the despensa trucks, PLUS another group loading chickens.

We were able to do our prayer circle by about 8:30 and get out on our nine routes to the squatter communities or invasiones.

Blessed New Year, everyone! Thank you and bless you all!

Handing Out Tickets for Chickens

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So happy to have his ticket for a chicken and despensas! He offered to make us mole.

Thanks to your help we are able to feed 2800 families for a couple of weeks at Christmas time. This has been going on for over a quarter of a century, and is called “The Chicken Breakfast” or Desayuno de los Pollos. On the morning of Christmas Eve (December 24th) we hand out a whole chicken plus despensas (rice, beans, sugar, oil, etc.) to families living in often dire conditions. This is an event coordinated by the Medina family, and it is very multicultural and bilingual. Join us and get to know some very cool people!

There are so very many ways you can help. How about buying some Christmas-themed fabric on sale after the holidays, and either making things for the bazaar next year with it, or giving it to us, and we’ll find women who will transform that fabric into goodies? How about collecting or donating things for the silent auction? Know someone who deals in chickens or despensas? Help us get a deal to better feed the needy! You can attend the fundraiser breakfast next year. Put us on your 2016 calendar!

For this year, gather together some new toys or stockings filled with candy, kitchenware, or gently used clothing. Bring a truck if you have access to one. Meet us early on the morning of the 24th at Quince Letras (directions here at http://www.DesayunodelosPollos.com).

In the meantime, enjoy some of the photos from today. Click on any photo to see it larger or view a slideshow.

This event has made my Christmas for a long time, and it is a pleasure to be able to continue being involved. I wish you the happiest of holidays, and all the best in the new year!