Story of donating veggies & fruits for families in need
This information was taken from a Facebook post and was written by Cecilia Fisher.
Thanks so much, we really appreciate it!
Seven weeks ago amidst coordinating with 12 ranches, volunteers and members of the Community Supported Agriculture of San Javier, Tracy Collingridge from Momentum Realty in Loreto Bay asked what if we bought from the ranchers and gave to families in need? Tracy’s initiative started us with 10 families and it quickly grew to more than 45 families each week for the last 7 weeks. With the donations of more than 40 persons we have been able to feed 166 persons as of yesterday.
We started with families that have children with special needs because these families are already with financial stress (and their children tend to get colds easily because of diet limitations). Because fresh veggies must be eaten within a week some families found they didn’t know what to do with so many veggies so they donated part of their box to another family. Some families chose to have veggies & fruit boxes every other week. So we were able to benefit families in need which we learned via Caritas church group. Soon our little car was followed by folks asking if we had any extra veggies boxes. Everyone who we give a veggie box has to sign their name, and give us a picture of their id. We deliver 4 days a week and we did see folks trying to get a veggies box every day (I guess there are vegans out there!). Families on dialysis particularly have loved our food selection. Each week I have asked folks what they like the most and the answer is clear: fava beans, peas, and swiss chard. Apparently, preparing swiss chard is more versatile than eating a tortilla! For cooking fava beans folks had to look up a recipe of their grandma or aunt. Folks can’t get enough of cantaloupe and watermelon.
For only 300 pesos, our veggies boxes have all sort of things grown in 12 different farms: cabbage (green or purple), purple garlic, red roma tomatoes (they one that are really red inside), recently green tomato – jitomate, beats when available, cantaloupe, oranges, watermelon when available, assortment of chiles (sweet and hot), komcuats, zucchini, cucumber, small potatoes (yes, they grow here!), jicama, lovely sweet onions, small tender nopal, cilantro, parsley, Italian basil, radishes, swiss chard (always there!), oranges (which are quickly taken by children and hide them in their shorts), sometimes bracelets, and sometimes green bell peppers, and carrots of all shapes. These ingredients can easily make hardy tasty meals like soups, and stews, in essence soul food that helps you forget for a little while we are in a pandemic. We have been fortunate to see folks do barter with the veggies with other types of food baskets that have dry food with grains. It makes us very happy to see how support can be multiplied. Also, the small business sector has received our food baskets and they in turn have helped to nourish the baskets with additional ingredients, others by helping at the farm as volunteers, others by giving gasoline, and others by helping with new plastic bags to put leafy greens for delivery.
As for COVID-19 prevention, as you may noticed we put attention to hygiene, social distancing, screening the health of our volunteers and working group, and use of face mask. We also hand them out to the members of a family and ask if they will be our ambassadors to using a face mask outside of their house so the transmissions can be reduced and avoided. Last week the Hospital of Loreto did random COVID-19 tests in San Javier and selected our farm group and we are happy to report all negative results. Also, our return empty boxes we wash by submerging them water with a chlorine solution.
It is possible the restrictions on mobility and closing of nonessential stores in Loreto may continue to be pushed for later than June. This is very worrisome for supporting families in need who would like to have some generation of businesses to pay for their energy bill and other expenses. Since we still have donation money for food, three of the food relief groups have considered purchasing in bulk for grains and other household items outside of Loreto because prices in Loreto can be too expensive. From the side of the growing season in San Javier, our veggies are doing well under our new shade area and we believe we will be able to continue harvesting veggies well into end of June 2020 or even later. Our prices are not affected by inflation and the benefit goes directly to the 12 farmers.
Thank you for supporting this initiative, for inspiring us to help one another, to helping us to be connected to land, water, and air. In shifting our energy to healthy food, we begin the real work of fighting COVID-19 and any other challenge the community faces. We hope you and your family is doing as well as can be during these trying times. When you return to Loreto, we hope we can share all the new hardy crops of the season.