We have good news: there have been no cases of COVID19 in Palomas (as of June 15). And, it may be, at least in part, due to the work of the Border Partners’ health promoters (promotoras). In March, when the virus became a threat, they quickly changed the focus of their work to helping needy families and vulnerable seniors weather this crisis.
Since then, thanks to the Paso del Norte Foundation and to Border Partners’ generous supporters, the four health promoters, assisted by Juan Rascon, have:
● delivered a box of basic groceries and fresh vegetables, every two weeks to 20 needy families;
● delivered a hot meal, five days each week, to 20 vulnerable seniors;
● offered information about how to avoid contracting the COVID19 virus to the families and the seniors;
● opened their office Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 pm, to offer screenings for depression and glucose levels and basic information about how to stay healthy during the pandemic, and
● earlier this year, helped the Mexican transit police screen people arriving into Palomas from the U.S.
In addition, they will soon be able to begin distributing masks. So far, this has been a missing piece of their prevention work. Now mask distribution will happen thanks to cooperation among three different groups begun under Border Partners! The women of Palomas OIlcloth Designs have agreed to make 200 masks at their cost. The Mexican nonprofit group, Amistad por Salud sin Fronteras, formed by local people involved with Border Partners agreed to pay for them. The Border Partners promotoras will distribute them!
One of the health promoters in Palomas, Gricelda Loya Loya, describes the great impact all this support makes on just one of those twenty families who receive the grocery supplement box:
One of the families is that of “Doña L.” [editor’s note: name withheld]. She’s 70 years old and lives alone with her four grandchildren who are between two and nine years of age. Her situation is sad. She doesn’t have a job to support her grandchildren. And her daughter, the children’s mother, has been missing for two years. Since then, Doña L. has taken care of the children. She collects aluminum cans to sell so she can buy food. Every time we promotoras come to deliver the box of groceries, the children run out to meet us. They’re so happy to receive it. Doña L. thanks us very much for this help.”
Now, the COVID-19 situation has negatively affected her ability to support the grandchildren. She’s unable to find enough aluminum cans on the streets due to the shortages in the food and beverage supply chain. So, we promotoras are very happy to be able to help Doña L.. And, we’re pleased to see that the children so clearly appreciate this help that we bring to their family.”