“Place of Hope” Food Kitchen – July Update
We prepared over several weeks for our move to our new location on June 29. One of the San Jose community members, a Maestro, was in charge to prepare the buildings for our move. The buildings had been vacant and neglected for several years. There was a lot of work to be accomplished in a short period of time. See the Minga here.
I wish to thank our Ecuadorian Maestro and our special volunteer who went on site every day to make sure the work was being done to meet our needs.
The building that is now our kitchen was used 3 times a week for an after school program teaching English. Desks and chairs had to be moved to a second building. The after school children will be in a new location for the start of the next school term. This second building will be available to us in the future.
We needed hot water in the kitchen and a new double kitchen sink and faucets for handling large commercial pots. We needed an outside area for washing hands and a shower area. We now have two working showers with hot water and a place for the people to sit down and change clothing. Showers have become popular as most of the people do not have running water and bathe in the rivers or wherever they can find a water spigot. We also have a bodega or storage area for used clothing, soap, shampoo, towels and miscellaneous items.
Beforehand, tables and chairs had to be set up and the kitchen and eating area cleaned. The kitchen and food for breakfast was organized for the next day. We are thankful that someone checked our commercial gas stove and discovered the flame was too low for cooking. The necessary adjustment was made and we were ready!
We made the move on June 29 and served our elderly poor people the very next day. Our first morning we served 30 people. One of our volunteers went to the old location early that morning and was able to transport people to the new location. Since most of the people are elderly and some are mute or with a physical problem, it was necessary to bring them to the new location.
Getting situated and organized in a new location was a challenge for all of us. We were very fortunate that the transition was well accepted and we have been moving forward to serve even more people.
The last two weeks of has been very inspiring as more people come to the Place of Hope. On an average, 50 people daily are served. They have the use of hot showers, bathrooms and a hand washing area.
Before breakfast our cook, Olga, turns up the music for dancing and exercise in our outdoor area. Our other cook, Panchita, prepares breakfast and volunteers put the food on plates and are ready to serve after exercise. The traditional hot drink called colada is made with milk, panela sugar, oatmeal and herbs for nutrition and taste.
Of course expenses ran higher than expected. Our kitchen is up to code and we hope that the fire chief will visit this coming week and give us a certificate showing we have no violations. It has been a very busy time since opening on June 30th.
Our first volunteer meeting at this new location will take place the end of this week. We have room to offer a schedule for doing crafts such as jewelry making, knitting and crocheting . We are in need of a few late morning volunteers to share some time with the people doing crafts a couple times a week after breakfast is served.
The plan is to have an ‘open house’ for the end of August or the first part of September. Local residents will be invited to meet our elderly and become acquainted with the kitchen. The handmade articles can be sold and the funds will go directly to the person that made the item. We will keep you posted as to when the Open House will take place.
The costs for the move and repairs that had to be completed ran higher than expected. We appreciate your generous support in the past and ask that you will continue to help us. No amount is too small and deeply appreciated. There are no administration fees and all donations are used to feed the people and any unexpected expenses.
Enjoy the photos and all the happiness that is shared with the people and our volunteers. Another volunteer takes the beautiful photos that we share with you.
Blessings, Micky Enright – Founder of Ecuador Project Hope
If you would like to designate your donation to a particular item please indicate. No donation is too small and deeply appreciated. Tax receipts are available. Remember – one person can make a difference…