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In Mexico, Operation Compassion feeds the hungry

Ed Tasca

Often, when we think of starving children, we're thinking about Central Africa or parts of India or even remote areas of South America. But Mexico has its share of the poor, as close by as the Chapala area. Some children are, in fact, so impoverished as to border on that critical brink of lack of nutrition and worse.

The truth is, unremitting hunger is right here under our noses and most of us aren't aware of it.

For example, there is a fairly large group of very poor families and homeless people in the San Antonio community. Many are children, and too frequently they go hungry sometimes for days at a time. One particular woman told us she had not been able to feed her family for a week because her husband had not had any work.

Chevy is a Mexican friend whose family has lived in San Antonio all his life and he knows the community well. Chevy, Tom Music and Rich Bailey have formed what they call "Operation Compassion." They have gathered a group of local Mexican women to start a program to feed the very poorest of their community once a day six days a week. The day they opened, they fed about 50 and were feeding over a 100 a day that first week. With the economy as bleak as it is, that number could swell to over 150 when the word gets out to the greater population.

Presently, in San Antonio, the group has a government building donated by the city with a kitchen and some basic appliances. But the hard facts are the continuing costs associated with feeding greater and greater numbers during these difficult times. It cost about $35,000 pesos ($2,400 USD) to start the service, and the group is budgeting about $5,000 pesos ($400 USD) a week to keep it supplied with food and drink.

"We believe that once our Lakeside community is aware of what we are doing, they will individually and in groups be willing to come on board and donate time and funds. We need many more volunteers but most immediately we need funds to buy supplies," Bailey says. "When the funding is sufficient to keep the feeding operation stable we hope to start a second phase.

"The second phase of our mission will be to give the homeless children we've found a safe place to go in the afternoon to do art work and to study. In Mexico you must pay to go to school and the very poor and homeless children can't afford to go to school. A large number are illiterate, so we hope to teach basic reading and writing both in Spanish and English.

"This second phase will also need volunteers to work with the children. There are people who need medical services they can't afford. We would like to be able to bring doctors in who will treat these folks at reduced rates.

"If you live here Lakeside your contributions would be greatly appreciated. Or, your help as a volunteer would be just as essential. This project is not church sponsored but we have some churches willing to help as they can. One of our pastors has a 501-C tax status for his ministry in Mexico and has volunteered to let us use it for contributions from the United States and Canada for those who would like a tax deductible receipt."

Contributions can be sent to:

Gary and Lori Neighbor Ministries
PO Box 493880
Redding Ca. 96049

Please write "Operation Compassion" in the memo section of your check.

Readers can visit the kitchen at 4 Jesus Garcia in San Antonio Tlayacapan.

For more information, please e-mail: Rich Bailey or Tom Music.

Published or Updated on: May 5, 2010 by Ed Tasca © 2010
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