If you spend any time in Puerto Peñasco, and you pay attention, it is not hard to see the need. While there is a population of those in need in most northern cities, here in our town the need is more acute, especially when you factor in a pandemic. Many people have been severely impacted by the lock downs and the ensuing restrictions. Loss of income, loss jobs, of loss of housing, loss of dignity…all this, and more, has been visited upon a large swath of the people of Peñasco. While the restrictions may ease, the effect of the downturn on our local economy and the people will be felt far into the future.
If you are new to our town, you might notice that there are groups of folks that are trying to help. Some are church based, others, like Oc3anview Ministry (www.oc3anviewministry.com) are not. Everyone is welcome…full stop.
Oc3anview was begun about five years ago by Conrad(o) Flores. His objectives were broad and ambitious, but he and his group of volunteers have made large strides in realizing them, helping our affected neighbors to not only weather the current situation, but begin to prepare for a brighter future as well.
Originally, Conrad relied on networking with about a dozen church and unaffiliated ministries for the majority of his funding. The arrival of COVID effectively put a stop to that. The funding has dried up, and there is a greater need now than ever before. What, you might ask, does Oc3anview need the money for? A lot of things.
Conrad tells me that his ministry provides the following to the local community:
At 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at Blvd. Kino and Francisco Madero meals are served to those in need.
A thrift store, called Segundas (seconds) has been established to help provide clothing and other essentials at very affordable prices. Additionally, many items are simply given to those who need them (blankets, shoes, etc.) at the ministry’s distribution center. The money earned by the thrift store helps to fund the other programs.
Those programs? In addition to providing nutritious meals three days a week, and starting up the thrift shop, Conrad and Oc3anview have begun working on a trade training program for local residents, to teach critical and in demand job skills. Since many of the missions that he had been working with had come down to help build a few houses, they brought tools…lots of tools. After they were done, they left them. What better way to make use of that boon than to use them to teach the building trades to the unskilled labor force here in town?
But wait! There’s more! Oc3anview has an athletics program too! They provide sports equipment and have built basketball courts and other athletic areas for local youth.
While ambitious, the ministry has been able, up to now, to get these programs off the ground and operational. With the onset of COVID and all that ensued, funding has pretty much dried up, threatening the continued success of the mission. The mission partners that Conrad had networked with have stopped coming to Peñasco due to the pandemic and restrictions. Individual volunteers have jumped in to help defray expenses and move goods and donations, gathered elsewhere, to town, but that is a temporary fix.
Conrad told me that, while some (many) of the missions that come to Peñasco are affiliated with a church, Oc3anview is not. It is a completely independent and non-denominational organization and does not represent any church affiliation. It is a Mexican non-profit, akin to a 501(c) 3 in the U.S. (they are currently in the process of applying for a 501 (c) 3 status in the U.S. as well).
A quick scan of their website (www.oc3anviewministry.com) will tell you all you need to know about the ministry, Conrad, and the fine folks who give so much of themselves to those less fortunate in our community. The amount of effort that has been directed toward helping Peñasco’s people is tremendous and is an ongoing struggle. Seeing the dedication and commitment of Conrad and his ministry, is heartening.
While there are many worthy (and some not so worthy) charities that you can donate to, and we all know how many requests we get every day, this one is worth your consideration. Donations can be made through the website and are gratefully accepted. Whether you’re a first-time visitor, frequent visitor or a permanent resident, if you want to do something for the town you enjoy visiting that makes a difference, why not donate to this mission?