“Can you imagine being forced to make a decision to send your child to school or have them work to help support the family?” asked Dee from the CREW team. “Or what if you simply couldn’t afford the tuition, school supplies, and shoes for your children? Without them, your child can’t go. It is a far cry from our society. We receive free education for our children. They don’t!”
Several year ago, Friends of Cozumel set out to help families faced with this tough decision. Each year, the number of families helped has increased, thanks to our supporters. Throughout the year, school supplies are collected from generous donors. Once the challenge of getting supplies to Cozumel is overcome, every pencil, pen, eraser, scissors, glue stick, notebook and backpack is inventoried and put into customized packets to meet the requirements of each child’s school.
“Today was the first day of several working with Friends of Cozumel getting kids ready for school,” said Loke from Utah and Cozumel. “We fit and distributed shoes, backpacks school supplies and eye glasses. This was also a collaborative effort with Operation: Cozumel backpack project. The smiles on the faces and the patience as they stood in line was heartwarming. It was a very humbling experience.”
This year, Friends of Cozumel expanded their list to include nearly 400 children who were recommended by church pastors or school teachers. Families were selected based on need and availability of materials. Scores of families not already on FOC’s long list also showed up today, asking us to help an estimated 100 additional children.
Although the sun was blazing and children had to wait in line to receive their materials, they were all smiles. Many made a point to say thank you—sometimes in Spanish and sometimes in English. Accompanying parents were also very grateful for the help. Please know that your support is very much appreciated.
“The first day of distribution was a big success,” Ilene from Texas wrote on her Facebook page. “There were lots of beautiful families, all so excited and thankful to receive the wonderful donations that so many of you have bought and/or transported to Cozumel. There are so many families that would not be able to send their children to school without the generosity of those who have given. Byron and I are so thankful to be able to be here and participate! And we’re so glad to have our daughter, Christina and granddaughter, Maggie with us along with good friends from Volunteer Christian Builders, Jerry and Ellen.”
It was a challenging day for FOC volunteers, but they loved putting your donations into grateful hands, so keep ‘em coming. School supplies are now on sale in the U.S. and we’ll need a new inventory of materials for next year. Muchisimas gracias. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska