Picture this . . . walking into a guest suite at Cozumel Palace Resort seeing a king size bed completely covered with school supplies and teaching materials piled a foot high; an avalanche of 70+ backpacks in one corner; suitcases and bags stuffed with fabric, underwear, socks; tool bags full of new hand tools while Sweet volunteers continued opening and sorting more bags of donations arriving every few minutes from their group’s guests. Larry, April and I were speechless at the magnitude and quality of the donations from the “Sweeties”, a group of 300+ women who combined vacation and community service here the first week of September.
Sweet donated over 30,000 items for Cozumel women, children and animals. And they kept on giving through their sponsorship and participation in events to benefit the Cozumel Humane Society, the turtle rescue program, cleaning beaches and partnering with Friends of Cozumel to support children and families in need.
Our conservative estimate is Sweet donations will directly benefit . . .
350 Children (1/3 with disabilities) by supporting their education and learning (via donations of school supplies, books, shoes, socks, underwear)
50 Women learning new skills in sewing and basic home/facility repair classes (via donations of fabric, supplies and tools)
7 Families and 16 daycare children by providing nutritious meals (via donations of food supplies). Friends of Cozumel, Sweeties, and NUAFA President Eloisa Buenfil met with Raquel, a single mother and her 12 day old baby, Cecilia. Together we provided food for the mother and special needs for the baby. It was a very emotional, meaningful time for everyone. Raquel shared she sought out Eloisa’s help and cried and prayed for two days after her baby was born because she didn’t have adequate milk for the baby or resources to purchase formula. She returned to work when the baby was 10 days old because she knew she needed to provide for her child. The Sweeties were so moved by this young mother’s story they collected a cash donation from their travel companions that night at supper and are providing financial support to assist Raquel in providing for her child.
Victoria and her five children were one of seven families in need identified to receive food supplies. They walked over 3 miles to receive food despenses (supplies). One of the children received a new pair of shoes brought by Sweet. The four school age children received backpacks as part of the Friends of Cozumel School Supply Project last month. They will also benefit next summer from Sweet’s school supply donations.
30+ Families with needed clothing they can not afford to buy
20+ local community leaders, teachers, pastors, daycare staff with resources supporting their work with youth and families (via donations of a laptop, teaching aids, supplies)
Multiple non-profit organizations and efforts including the CAM School for 120 kids with disabilities; NUAFA (Heart of Family Support Center) daycare, women’s skill training classes; Vida Abundante (Abundant Life) Church youth group learning programs; and school supply project for 180 students (kindergarten through univeristy) from families with limited resources.
KUDOS to Sweeties . . . Their personal caring and donated resources are helping local families and organizations become self-sufficient. Ten volunteers visited NUAFA to learn about serving families in crises and interact with daycare children. They also toured the CAM School’s life skills program for teens with disabilities. A small group personally shopped, assembled and distributed food supplies to families in need. Personal connections made and new friendships initiated will go beyond a one-time visit. Individuals of the Sweet group are partnering with Friends of Cozumel volunteers to provide follow-up financial support and special needs for selected families and organizations. ~~Karen