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.

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!

Chicken Breakfast/Desayuno de Pollos: Main

1-p1090521

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

The People You Touch

DSC_0808 Faces and Places of Colonia San Antonio

Every year we are privileged to be able to help the Medina family and all the others who help out with Desayuno de los Pollos. This year, thanks to help from so many of YOU, we have already been able to purchase 2500 whole chickens and pack up 1500 packs of despensas, or 10 days worth of food. This should feed about 13,000 families this year. We also take gently used clothes, toys and candy to share. In the slideshow below are photos of just a few of the people you touch. And, of course, they are people who very much touch us back in turn, making our holidays bright. (Click the arrows in the slideshow below to view photos more quickly. Please let me know what you think of these portraits! Thanks!)

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Yesterday I went out, as usual, with Yolanda and Jorge, to meet with community leaders of Colonia San Antonio. We handed out about 900 (!) tickets for food to members of the community. Why is this important? Because Colonia San Antonio, as so many other colonias on the outskirts of town (we give out food along 7-9 routes every year; San Antonio is just one of them), is an invasión. This means that the land on which the houses are built is privately owned, and the people living there are squatters. Normal procedure in these circumstances is that poor people move in, “squat” on the land, build homes out of pallets, recycled tarp, or even cardboard or metal. Eventually they band together and string electrical wire for themselves, and lay pipes for water. They have now done this in Colonia San Antonio.

Five or so years ago, when we first started going there to hand out chickens, they had neither water nor electricity. Now they do. I don’t see any transformers or breakers or anything, pretty much just a very long extension cord running from house to house. But, they do have electricity. Once the community grows large and successful enough, the city, or municipio, decides to access the colonia. The city pays the landowner for the land, and the people living in the invasión are required to start paying taxes.

The good news is, the squatters get to own their land and their homes. Some of the people who occupy the land in these invasiones, however, do not live there full time. Some come out to visit the homes they have only on the weekend, like a (very basic) country house. Others farm the land, but live in town. They basically squat as a way of making (a bit of) money, eventually, when the city decides to give the squatters a deed to the land they occupy.

Yolanda, Jorge and I go out here to meet with community leaders, so that they can take us around, home to home. They can tell us who lives here full time, and who only happens to be here once in a while. The community leaders tell us which families are most in need (maybe they need two chickens or packs of food, or extra clothing), and which are doing better than others. In this way, we can be as equitable as possible in what we hand out. This week, we were there from about 10 am till 2:00 pm.

It is one of my favorite days of the year. I am able to meet with incredible community leaders, people who themselves have fallen on hard times, don’t have much in the way of money, but who have the caring and the fortitude, the vision and the sense of justice, to better their communities. I also have the privilege to meet the people I’ve met with over the past five or so years that we’ve been going to Colonia San Antonio. I get to visit with people we know, and get a glimpse into how people there live.

This year, I made a point of taking photos of two things: the faces and the places of Colonia San Antonio. The first slide show, above, is of some of the faces of this invasión. You can see the joy, the dignity, and the difficulty these people experience every day. I have so very much to learn from so many of these people. I am so grateful to be able to meet with them and, hopefully, share with them a bit of joy and ease their burden just a bit.

The second slide show, below, is of the places: the homes, stores, and plazas of this colonia. It amazes me how simply people here live, how hard they work for what they have, yet how clean they keep their homes, the care and love they bestow on their children. How, despite the dust EVERYWHERE, most everyone has clean clothes and skin and hair. Nearly every home is decorated for the holidays, and many of them have beautiful demonstrations of religiosity as well, especially for the Virgen de Guadalupe. (Click on the arrows in the slideshow below to view all photos more quickly.)

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You are most welcome to join us on Christmas Eve morning, Wednesday this week, to caravan out to the 7-9 routes we’ll go on and hand out chickens, food, clothes, toys and candy. We’ll meet at Quince Letras downtown, 6:30 am if you have a pickup truck, 7:00 am if you are coming to help out. We should be finished by noon. Merry Christmas and see you Wednesday morning!

Part of the #MyGlobalLife Link-Up.