Chickens for Christmas 2017

DSC_4956I trust you all are enjoying wonderful holidays, and that 2018 will bring you much health and joy.

This year as we handed out chickens and food to over 2500 needy families, the most popular items— other than the food, of course—were the blankets and tools! We had a few drills, some hand tools, and a couple of electric tools, and my oh my did this make the men happy! Fortunately we had 80 blankets, thanks to the generosity of one donor and the intelligence and kindness of an expat couple who traveled to Guadalajara to buy them. If we had had 800, people would have been thrilled. We chose the elderly most in need as recipients of the very soft and warm blankets. Click on any photo to view it larger or watch a slideshow.

 

The spinners and the balls were just some of the many toys that our nieces bought with the proceeds from the sale of their brownies. Lots of local children donated their gently used toys, so this year we were blessed to be able to make over 300 children very happy. Perla and Brisa, the two neighborhood girls who have accompanied us the past five years joined in again; they have gotten really good and bringing Christmas cheer to those in need. Baby things are also very popular: diapers, clothes, blankets.

 

Our group handed out food, clothing, shoes and toys in three places this year: Rincón de Mazatlán (in Colonia Universo/Ébano), El Basurón (the city dump) and Rancho de los Niños. We felt especially blessed that it was just our group this year: our family, our good friends the Hernández, and friends of ours and theirs. It rocked to be together with loved ones on Christmas bringing smiles to the faces of everyone from 90 to 3 months!

We tried a new method of handing things out that worked wonderfully. As you can imagine, people get anxious and over-eager, and that makes for lots of confusion if we don’t manage things well. Well, we lined up our heavily-laden trucks and cars as usual: chickens first, then despensas/food, followed by toys. Once all that was given out, we opened up the clothes, displaying them on the ground on sheets as if in a store, and keeping the line moving steadily.

 

We announced the plan to everyone ahead of time, so that those who wanted clothes would stick around. They were all lined up, the community leaders had made sure of that, and then our volunteers lined up as well, forming a human chain or wall between those in the line and the gifts. At first we felt awkward, but it worked beautifully! No more cutting the line, everyone got something, it felt organized and there was happiness galore. Bless all our volunteers and their smiling faces and love-filled hearts!

We had so many clothes and shoes this time that, despite serving over 350 families, we had extra! I especially loved how everyone tried on shoes to make sure they fit, leaving them for others if they didn’t, and then glowed with happiness when they found the perfect pair of leather flip flops or high heels. We packed up the leftover clothing and shoes and left them with the community leaders to hand out to those in need who couldn’t make our event on Christmas Eve morning.

 

People really love blankets and other bedding, including sheets and pillows. They love pots and pans and kitchen things; most have outdoor kitchens and these items don’t last long. If you have any extra tools you don’t use, or see any at garage sales this summer and you drive down, please bring them! My one great sadness this year was a gentleman who showed up at 11:30 with a ticket for a chicken AND food, but we’d already handed it all out. He didn’t want toys or clothes, and in his disappointment was very upset with us. We had asked them to show up at 8:30, so he was late. But, he really was looking forward to the chicken. I didn’t have any cash on me to give him, and he left in a huff. God bless him; I do hope something else happened to make his Christmas beautiful.

We started loading at Quince Letras about 6am. We are a multinational group of locals and expats, including dozens of young adults, many of whom have been doing this since they were kids and who now bring their friends—the next generation. I love watching them grow in strength of character and love each year. We also have a solid group of children who join in to help. We form bucket brigades or rally lines to load the trucks with food, toys and clothes, then set out on different routes to reach people all the way to Villa Unión. This year we also served the community of desplazados, those displaced by violence in the Sierras; I was thrilled with that! After loading all the trucks and cars, we form a large circle to say a prayer, and then we are off!

 

Our group first went to the Basurón, then Rincón de Mazatlán, and finished up visiting Rancho de los Niños, where we all enjoyed playing with the disabled kids. Hugging and loving on them made for a perfectly wonderful end to our Christmas Eve morning. We saw the new buildings that are being built for Rancho de los Niños by Back to Back Ministries, including a physical therapy pool. The new digs look great and should be ready early in the new year!

 

THANK YOU ALL immensely, for participating in the myriad ways you do! We look forward to seeing you again next year. I have written lots of stories and posted many photos of this event over the past 16 years. Just search for “pollos” or “chicken” in the search box if you’d like to see more. And remember, details can be found at www.VidaMaz.com/Pollos

Need Help Packing and Muchísimas Gracias

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The rice, sugar and beans are in! These are just part of the food we’ll be handing out to those in need in our community on Christmas. We could sure use your help packing foodstuffs into smaller bags, so we’re ready for the 24th. If you are able to help, please call Jorge (he speaks English very well) at 6691-10-07-44. And invite your friends! This is a great way to do some good for an hour or two while catching up with friends in conversation!

As Christmas gets closer, we will need help sorting clothes as well. Thank you for pitching in!

If you need directions on how to get to Quince Letras to help with packing or to load trucks and join a convoy on Christmas Eve morning, visit: http://www.DesayunoDeLosPollos.com

Thanks to your help, Desayuno de los Pollos set yet another record this year. In the silent auction we collected 27,000 pesos, which will enable us to buy whole chickens and despensas for those 2800 or so families we feed each Christmas. I don’t yet have the overall numbers, but families in the invasiones will be happy! Below I will list those sponsors that I know of; if you helped and wish to be added to the list, please let me know.

I have a nice story to tell. Jeanett Sanz, interior designer, made a donation to the auction and came to the breakfast. The winner of her auction item is now wanting to contract her to update her home. Please put the Chicken Breakfast on your calendar for next year! Your goodwill can help build your business!

GRACIAS MIL to those who donated items for the breakfast:

  • Athina Spa
  • Barracruda’s
  • Candis Dear (hand-crocheted scarf)
  • Casa 46
  • Casa Canobbio
  • Casa Etnika
  • El Cid
  • Enrique Perraza Chavarin (tours)
  • Essence Spa
  • Fish Market
  • Gwen (baby quilts)
  • Il Mosto
  • La Rosa de las Barras
  • Jeanette Leraand (50-50 raffle)
  • Look Vintage and Modern Gallery
  • Marina Mazatlán Golf
  • Medina Wrought Iron
  • Pastelería DPatty
  • Paulina Carrillo (watercolor)
  • Pedro y Lola’s
  • Restaurante La Famosa
  • Restaurante La Palapa
  • Restaurante La Terraza
  • Salsa y Salsa (these amazing women donated US$1000!!!! Bless your souls!
  • Sanz Gallery Diseño Interior
  • Sonrisas
  • Sue and Dave Parker (Tikio paintings)
  • Tippy Toes Salón
  • Los Venados baseball team

 

Thanks to Incredible YOU!

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

On this Thanksgiving Day, I want to thank you!!!! You all are terrific! So many people are buying and selling tickets for the fundraiser “Chicken Breakfast”! We’ve already received dozens of bags of gently used clothing to hand out to those in need on Christmas, and the silent auction and Christmas Bazaar items are coming in, too.

A special shout-out to Post-n-Ship in the Golden Zone, where you can purchase tickets for the breakfast on December 12th and drop off any donations. Click on any photo below to enlarge it or view a caption.

Also a big special shout-out to Vecinos con Cariño. They are selling tickets, buying tickets, and they have donated a whole lot of stuff to help us bring joy to the nearly 3000 families we hope to feed on Christmas. For any of you looking for a meaningful charitable organization to join, I urge you to take a look at VCC. I am really impressed with the numerous worthwhile projects in which they are involved: schools programs, helping migrant families in Teacapán, and an upcoming inter-condo-complex competitive “Food Fight.” They also are making good on their vision to help other charitable organizations, including their aid to Desayuno de los Pollos, or the Chicken Breakfast/Christmas Eve morning handout of food and goodies to those in need.

More on VCC after the first of the year. For now, THANK YOU and Blessed Thanksgiving to all!

Chicken Breakfast/Desayuno de Pollos: Main

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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. Each year we feed 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 (down the side street from Farmacía Moderna/Bum Dólar), Tippy Toes in the historic center (across from the art museum), and Surf’s Up Café in Emerald Bay will have tickets also.
  2. Make crafts or baked goods to be sold at the bazaar during the breakfast. Contact me and we’ll arrange a pick up or drop off, or bring them the morning of the breakfast.
  3. Donate (or gather) items for the silent auction (download a gift certificate, artwork, restaurant meals, hotel stays, airfares…). Just contact me and we’ll pick your stuff up.
  4. Help set up, cook, serve or clean up after the breakfast.
  5. 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).
  6. Help pack the food into packets—the two weeks before Christmas.
  7. Join us to go out with community leaders to deliver tickets for chickens, to ensure all receive their fair share, the weekend before Christmas. Instructions are below.
  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?
It’s usually the first Saturday in December, 8:30-10:30 am in the cruise ship dock/API. In 2018 the breakfast will be on Saturday December 8th. Please join us and bring all your friends! Your 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. This is a very multicultural affair, with announcements in Spanish and English and hundreds of locals and expats attending.

API dock is on Emilio Barragón nearly across from the 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?
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 and view or use a PowerPoint presentation with a full explanation of the project: chicken-breakfast-presentation
  2. 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!
  3. Download and print a poster to help advertise.

Have questions? Contact the organizers:

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

Photos of the 2013 Chicken Breakfast/Entrega de los Pollos

More chickens than ever (2300 families), more despensas/food packets than ever (1164), more routes and more volunteers. Handing out of the chickens this year was a terrific time, as usual. Hearty thanks to all who participated, and to Yolanda for leading us in this effort for 21 years.

Merry Christmas, everyone! We are so fortunate to be able to share with others in this way. The smiles and hugs of the people on our route in San Antonio, their joy, was the best gift I can imagine. See below for photos from this year (mouseover to view larger; click to view slideshow).