An unexpected shift from education to food
Since 2016, non-profits Steps of Love in the U.S., and AIM Peñasco in Mexico, have been working together to give young people in Puerto Peñasco a path out of poverty through education. At the start of 2016 we were helping 588 students attend school and succeed academically. Our program was thriving, and we were looking at some exciting opportunities for expansion. Unfortunately, the COVID crisis brought all of this to a halt at the end of March. When restrictions due to COVID left an unprecedented number of locals out of work, we knew we had to respond.
With strong teams on both sides of the border, who share a commitment to financial accountability and transparency, we realized we were uniquely positioned to play a significant role in food relief efforts. So, we all we got to work. Our local team quickly converted our largest homework club into a distribution hub. They worked closely with the local government and health departments and began purchasing food in bulk and distributing it to families in urgent need. Meanwhile, our Steps of Love team in the U.S. established the Puerto Peñasco Crisis Relief Fund and temporarily shifted fundraising efforts from education to food.
A tremendous show of support from both sides of the border
Since the end of March, the Crisis Relief Fund has received more than 900 donations totaling just over $150,000. In addition to financial support from the U.S, the AIM Peñasco team has received tremendous support from the local community. Individuals, businesses and community groups have stepped up in many ways including: local businesses donating food and other supplies; volunteers helping to create and distribute food bags; generous supporters providing meals to keep the local team nourished; individuals making masks to include in the food bags; community groups working together to distribute water to those in urgent need; locals helping to raise funds to support this effort; and much more.
The impact has been incredible
Funds raised have enabled the small but mighty AIM Peñasco team to create and distribute more than 11,000 food bags to distribute throughout the community. With each bag feeding a family of four for one week, this collective effort has provided a week’s worth of food for more than 44,000 local children and adults!
The silver lining
There is no doubt that this COVID crisis has presented both of our organizations with tremendous challenges. However, a bright spot for us has been finding so many others who share our love for this community and a desire to improve the lives of those living here. Over the past few months, both Steps of Love and AIM Peñasco have formed some wonderful new partnerships that we hope will continue long after this crisis in behind us.
Joining the Peacemaker Family
One of the most exciting partnerships we have formed during this crisis is with a band that is very popular and beloved by so many on both sides of the border. We are incredibly grateful to Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers for their tremendous support of our efforts over the past few months. From individual band members hosting live stream events to raise money for our crisis fund, to the entire band raising awareness and funds to support, not just our crisis effort, but our eventual return to education, their support has meant so much to both of our organizations. We are thrilled to have joined the Peacemaker family and look forward to working together with them to impact even more young lives in the future.
Since March 26th approximately 6,000 families received food from this effort.
THE AIM Peñasco social worker screened thousands of families to assure that the food was going to those in most urgent need
We are excited about a new partnership with this beloved band