The patron saint of Chicxulub Puerto is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Virgen de Asuncion) who is honored every August 15th with a mass.
More fondly known as Chix Food Bank, began operating in November 2005 by a group of individuals who came together to respond to an identified need in Chicxulub.
Chicxulub is a comisaria of Progreso and receives funding for its programs from Progreso. There is a huge need to assist people suffering from many forms of poverty.
We work on the following premise: to provide food to the families identified in a respectful manner while ensuring donations are used wisely with no affiliation to the church or government.
We began November 15, 2005 with our first despensa to 50 families while having a list with over 300 names on a waiting list.
The response from the foreign community has been overwhelming and has helped reach the first goal of providing 50 families with one despensa every month for one year. With this support, the number of families receiving despensas continues to increase.
I live in the port city of Progreso/Chicxulub Yucatan. In the village of Chicxulub, there are about 5000 people. The main industry is fishing. Of course, this work is at the mercy of the weather and between the hurricane and the norte seasons the port often is closed so there is no opportunity to go out fishing.
We have families who have limited resources to care for their families. We also have elderly people who rely on their children to care for them and help them on a day-to-day basis.
With this background information I set about looking at how I might help alleviate this situation in some small way.
The school age children suffer from a higher incidence of poverty in the afternoon programs compared to the morning children. In speaking to a teacher at the Andreas Quintana Roo elementary public school, I heard some very sad stories: How children come to school in clothes too small for them, shoes that are falling apart and emptiness in their stomachs.
I wondered how these children, the future of the country, can learn when basic needs that we take for granted are not met.
The idea of a “soup kitchen” came to mind but seemed too labour intensive so I thought of a Food Bank. I tossed the idea around with some people both local and foreign and it seemed like a feasible plan.
So in the summer of 2005, a respected woman in the local community got together with the health nurse and developed a list identifying 50 families who were at high risk and needed help. This was not an easy thing to do, but they did it and on my return in September 2005 I had the first families for the Food Bank.
Each family was visited and basic information gathered. It was a humbling experience to visit the families in their homes and see how they were coping. It was a further step to reinforce the idea of a Food Bank for the people of Chicxulub
The staples were chosen, the best prices were sought out and the structure began to take place.
LEARN ABOUT HUNGER
More than one half of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition which weakens the body’s resistance to illness.
- Children have a right to a caring, protective environment and to nutritious food and basic health care to protect them from illness and promote growth and development. 1
- Children need Vitamin A to resist illness and prevent visual impairment.
- Children need iron-rich foods to protect their physical and mental abilities.2
- Poor nutrition in the first two years of life can slow a child’s physical and mental development for the rest of his or her life. 3
- Anemia – lack of iron – can impair physical and mental development. Mild anemia in infants and young children can impair intellectual development. Anemia in children under two years of age may cause problems with coordination and balance and the child may appear withdrawn and hesitant. This can limit the child’s ability to interact and may hinder intellectual development. 4
1,2,3,4, Facts for Life, UNICEF, WHO AND UNESCO 2002
These are serious issues. We all know how precious the life of a child is.
In response to these issues, as an off-shoot of the Food Bank, a pre-school breakfast program once a week feeding 20 children between the ages of 1 and 4 ½ years of age began Dec.18th,2006.