For Those Living at (or on the fringes of) The Dump
Are you interested in helping this year?
(We so appreciate you! And likely all of your questions will be answered below.
Please take a moment to read through all of the information on this page.)
Quick story: One year for Christmas we decided that we'd had enough. We had 67 (count 'em folks!) sixty-seven presents under the tree.
"Never again," we said. "There's too many people in need. Let's go help them."
Previously, Joseph had spent years working as a social worker and the psych unit where he worked routinely adopted a family through the local community center's "Adopt a Family" program.
That was all the inspiration we needed.
In San Diego, where we were living, there are thousands of disadvantaged people living on the streets and in the parks. And contrary to popular belief, it gets really cold in San Diego.
So we bought blankets, loaded up the back of our pick-up truck and went to give them away. Within moments the blankets were gone. And then we heard "this is great, but... Do you have any water?"
That was in 2006. The project grew each year to include more volunteers, and trucks overflowing with food, toiletries, sleeping bags, tents, pillows, vitamins, toothbrushes... and yes, water.
Fast forward to 2012. We were driving past the municipal dump with friends, outside of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico. And in the mountains of trash, we noticed some movement. There were people in there, barely noticeable because they blended in with the trash.
"They're scavenging through the trash for stuff to sell or eat or use as clothing. Maybe even for scraps to build a hut," our friend said.
That Christmas we put out a call, and since then dozens of volunteers have delivered hundreds of gifts each year to those "working" at the dump. We bring Christmas to those we consider to be the poorest of the poor — those who are scavenging through trash to find food, clothing, shelter or things to sell.
Last year there were nearly 300 people waiting for us when we drove in. Many of them children.
This year, the need is even greater — with more and more people living below poverty or their family members have left, trying to get to the US for work.
To help lessen some of their suffering, we'd love to have your support.
If you'd like to join us this year, here's how you can help:
donate any of the items listed below, or money.
be a volunteer shopper using donated funds
join us in delivering gifts directly to those in need on the morning of December 24th (we meet at 9am.)*
*Please note that many of the volunteer positions for delivering gifts on Christmas Eve day have already been filled with those on the waiting list from last year, and preference is given to those volunteers with large, reliable vehicles. If you're interested in delivering gifts, send us an email and we'll let you know as spots become available.
THANK YOU for your patience with this part! We always have far more requests to volunteer than space available.
If you'd like to be a volunteer shopper:
Please read the "list of needed items" and send us an email. Once confirmed via email, an envelope with your name and pesos will be available for you to pick up at The Studio Space. We encourage you to "shop small and shop local", shopping at the small, local tiendas and street vendors that really need and appreciate your support.
If you're not in San Miguel and want to help out:
THANK YOU! You're welcome to donate money in any amount using our paypal link. 100% of monies raised go to support those in need.
Your donations are welcome at Subida al Caracol 11,
just above the intersection of Prolongación Aldama
and 5 de Mayo. GRACIAS!
List of Needed Items*
juice, milk, fresh fruits + vegetables (delivered on the 23rd only), beans, rice, canned goods (in pop-up cans)
new or gently used blankets, hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters, socks
sleeping bags, tarps, tents, pillows
new, cold weather shoes for children and adults
toilet paper, feminine products, diapers, baby wipes
condoms, vicks vapor rub, vitamin C, aspirin, cough syrup
toothpaste, toothbrushes, hand + body soap, hand sanitizer, latex gloves
heavy tote bags, buckets, candles, large tub basins, rope, small tools, duct tape, sturdy work gloves
1-gallon or 5-gallon bottles of water
for the children: notebooks, pens, pencils, coloring books, crayons, soccer balls, stuffed animals, toys (nothing battery operated please) and candy ;)
*We've noticed over the years that food, water, vitamins, blankets, buckets, tarps and tents are more needed than clothing, for example. Unfortunately, each year a large pile of pants and shorts and t-shirts go unwanted. Jackets, sweaters and warm shoes and socks are more sought after items.
Also a large box of juice is more usable (and environmentally friendly) than a case of small juice boxes, etc.
And a HUGE THANK YOU for supporting this endeavor over the past 12 years! You've made such a difference in bringing comfort and compassion to hundreds of people!
In deep gratitude,
Eli, Joseph, all the volunteers and all of the recipients!
P.S: If someone you know is looking for a direct way to help others and alleviate suffering this holiday season, please share this webpage with them. Many of us find a lot of joy in helping others and they'll thank you for the opportunity :)
TO DONATE ITEMS:
Beginning Monday, December 2nd until Monday, December 23rd, your donations will be welcomed at The Studio Space, Subida al Caracol 11 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 am - 3 pm.
Special note: please be mindful of the packaging that you use when shopping. The dumps are full (!) and each year dozens of plastic bags show up with the donations. Please consider shopping with tote bags or cardboard boxes (which can then be given to the recipients to collect their gifts...)
Also, while shopping, it's best to support SMALL mom & pop vendors, rather than larger stores. This way everyone wins!
The local dump, where people scavenge for food, clothing, items to create shelter or items to sell...
Christmas, 2018. Lots of very happy people receiving their holiday gifts! :)