How recent food distributions make a significant difference in Palomas

Border Partners’ José Luis Muñoz hands these women-led, indigenous families important basic supplies in a recent food distribution.

Each month this spring Border Partners organized and executed food distribution drives. These significant efforts began at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Since then, we’ve regularly helped those who are most in need in our Palomas community area with a nutritional supplement. Most recently, eighty food baskets blessed 246 people, including the most needy families and seniors. Determining who needs these important nutrition resources is done carefully.

Thirty  family recipients receive a dispensa, or food distribution, from us every single month. We selected these families after conducting an annual survey that included direct home visits. These families are, in our judgment, the most needy, the most vulnerable, and the ones with the fewest resources and supports in Palomas.

People in Need of Food

But each month we also give assistance to additional families who others recommend to us as needing extra help. In May, for instance, we gave boxes to fifty additional families. These referrals come to us in a variety of ways. Sometimes, teachers will suggest a family that they know is struggling. Staff members hear of other families who need the help. Or, the community health clinic may suggest names.

More than half of the supplemental food basket recipients are headed by single adults or are individual elders. These are typically either single mothers or seniors who live alone.

How We Help

It takes time and teamwork to gather, organize, distribute the monthly food supplements.

Each basket recipient receives roughly twenty pounds of very basic food. Recent baskets contained:

  • two kilos of dry beans,
  • one kilo of rice,
  • one kilo of dry mix to make corn tortillas,
  • one kilo of potatoes,
  • one small tomato puree,
  • two soups,
  • cereal,
  • oil,
  • toilet paper,
  • eggs,
  • whole wheat bread,
  • one kilo of tomato,
  • one kilo of flour,
  • coffee and coffee cream

Since one Kilogram equals more than two pounds, this supply will really make a difference in the family’s life. Each food supplement weighs in at over 20 pounds.

The logistics of distribution are also significant in a municipality with no public transportation when those in need don’t have personal vehicles. It requires significant effort to transport, sort and deliver the food.

Why It’s So Important

The Mexican government does not provide any food aid to anyone. In Palomas, no other group provides food support to any households on a regular or ongoing basis. Our ability to bring food to people in great need comes from the support we receive from our generous donors. That’s what makes this nutrition supplement program possible.

Making life better for Palomas tweens and teens

by Peter Edmunds, Border Partners cofounder and board member

some Palomas secondaria students

Palomas students will have a secure place to eat now.

I’m forming the impression that the Mexican government’s vision of running a school system is at best rather strange. They build the buildings and pay the teachers (poorly, at that). But then they contribute little else.  And certainly they don’t provide much money for supplies (like paper) or any other learning necessities. Nevertheless, a visit to the secundaria (middle school), Technica 25, in Palomas always inspires and informs me.

Better yet, Border Partners was able to provide them some little helps recently:

  • For $30 each we added RAM to about half of the school’s computers, and
  • for $4.60 each we’re ordering bulbs for their overhead projectors. Again: The government provided the machines, but the school has no budget for projector repairs. And the bulbs aren’t even sold in Mexico. Now that the projectors will function again, the Silver City schools are giving us eight more overhead projectors to pass along to the secondaria.

I saved the best help for last …… the new school lunch room!

This formerly one-walled structure was once a garage for the school’s collection of dead buses. But the 40′ by 60’ building has three new walls now as well as a repaired and insulated roof. New windows will be installed soon.

The secret component in all this accomplishment is the teachers. They’re doing the construction work– building the walls, repairing the roof, installing the roof–in addition to their regular teaching duties.

The community raised the money for the construction themselves: by hosting bake sales and contests, as well as collecting, baling, hauling and selling about 15 tons of cardboard.

They’d like to add a plywood ceiling in the building. That would cost $1,000.00. And they’d also like to paint the walls. I hope they do a nice mural using some of the miss-mixed paint local paint stores often donate to us.

Peter Edmunds

Peter Edmunds

In this season of celebration and decoration, we give thanks for these four walls and roof in Palomas.

And we are grateful for our supporters whose contributions allow us to help the secondaria teachers build a lunchroom for their students.