Hurricanes are in the news across Canada, the US and the Caribbean. Friends of Cozumel with the aid of our local volunteer leaders proactively prepared to help 140 Cozumel families with emergency mini-despensas in the event of a category #2+ hurricane. Despensas are dry food products. The food was purchased when “Ian” was forming in the Caribbean. Since then, Hurricane Ian’s path has changed to have the greatest impact on Florida.
Although we will not distribute the mini-despensas now, they are stored and ready to distribute from two locations whenever needed just before a hurricane. Families on our list will be advised via whatsapp to come to: 1) Vida Abundante Church or 2) Amigos de Cozumel bodega (our storage location) on a certain day/time and bring their bag. The mini-despensas include enough food for 1-2 days: 4 liters drinking water, tuna, mayo, crackers, spaghetti, tomato puree, precooked pouches of refried beans, canned mixed vegetables, powdered chocolate milk, a candle, matches, and cloro (bleach) to clean after hurricanes. Volunteers will deliver the mini-despensas to home-bound families.
The most economical brands of products were purchased from various stores. Each despensa cost 188 pesos ($9 USD) per family . . . a great “investment” to ensure families in need have food/drinking water during a hurricane. This is one example of how monetary donations we receive for “Greatest Needs” are used. The despensas will be stored until the island is forecasted to have a category #2+ hurricane or the end of the season. If not used by November; these despensas will distributed to help families during “low tourism season” when many jobs are affected.
Although local families with low resources may lack the funds to cover windows with wood panels or hurricane shutters; the process for preparing homes for those with resources provides temporary work/income for local families. We salute the families Friends of Cozumel supports who are very creative in using whatever they have to prepare their homes for hurricanes.