top of page

Please help San Pedro Itzicán and the local villages

A frequent question we get is - What does Poco a Poco do?

There is no short answer I'm afraid!  We are basically one of the go-between organizations that work with Anita Torres to help the communities in the areas of San Pedro Itzicán and Mezcala in the Municipality of Poncitlán.

They face being the highest community with unknown cause of renal disease (kidney disease).

They face hunger, poverty, malnutrition, lack of education and work skills.

These indigenous areas lack so much and are facing many challenges.  

 

Some of what we do, and how we do it, can be read on this link to see the History of Poco a Poco...
 

Anita Torres Guererro, who we have been working with since 2017, is a dedicated volunteer.  She is a committed supporter of the community she has adopted and a person the community go to for help and support

She was hired in October 2021 as the
Director of the Centros de Desarrollos Comunitarios (CDC) del H. Ayuntamiento Constitucional de Poncitlán (after working with Human Rights Jalisco). She opened up the CDC buildings and programs started there.  They have become important centers for the community for activities, support and help.  We moved our programs there as well. 
(
Volunteers are always needed to help us!  Even better if you speak some Spanish!)
Of course we seek financial support to run our programs, especially providing medicines and treatments for renal patients; supporting the Kids' Kitchens by using our truck to pick up and deliver supplies and paying stipends to some of the helpers; and providing water garafons for the Kids' Kitchens.  But Poco a Poco really is just one of the supporters of the incredible work of Anita Torres Guererro.

We are currently trying to raise money to create a safe and tiny home for her on some land she purchased in San Pedro Itzicán.  Click here to go to the GoFundMe page we have created for this, to learn more and perhaps support this initiative.  If you prefer to use another way of donating, just email us so that we can direct your donation accordingly. Thank you so much!
Anita with arrow.jpg

Besides the two Government buildings, Anita also runs the Poco a Poco temporary office building where one of the Kids' Kitchens is located with a modest kitchen.  The Mezcala and San Pedro buildings have well-equipped kitchens.  But it takes a lot of work and food to feed over 700 children, five days a week!  (These kitchens are funded by FoodBank Lakeside - for which we are most grateful.)

During the COVID outbreak in Mexico most of our programs were cancelled. When factories were shut-down, overnight people were suddenly without work or food.  Thanks to our amazing donors, we were able to help families by providing food every week to over 1,900 families from mid-March to mid-August 2020.  We provided basic despenses (food packages), but they were so welcome and appreciated. 

Anita and her wonderful team of youth did the distribution work.  The Kids' Kitchen Director, Patricia Moran, organized the food delivery, hunted down the best prices and ways to get the food delivered to the community (few trucks would drive out there because the roads were so bad).  And we all did everything we could to raise money to pay for food.  You can read more about this on our Covid food crisis page.  Our grateful thanks to everyone who helped us so much during that difficult time.
PayPal.jpg
In September 2020 we restarted feeding the children, and they lined up for food and took it home to eat. In January 2021, we restarted the Kids' Kitchen in the San Pedro Poco a Poco office, thanks to more support from FoodBank Lakeside.  From January through to October 2021, we were feeding over 300 children, five days a week in three locations.  

In May 2022, we expanded again, and since then, run
six Kids' Kitchen locations, feeding over 700 children (and 24 volunteers), five days a week!  FoodBank Lakeside pay towards the cost of the food, and we are very grateful for that.  But there are many other costs that we still have to pay for, including buying lots of tortillas (which cost more than 12,000 pesos a month) and using the truck to purchase all the food.  Poco a Poco also pay for drinking water and purchase 100 large garafons of water each week for our Kids' Kitchens.  Clean water is needed so that hands are washed before food preparation, by the children - before and after eating, as well as providing healthy water-based drinks to the children.  The Poco a Poco truck is also used for distributing the raw ingredients or cooked food to each location.  It takes a lot of hard work to prepare and cook food for that many children each week.  It's also tough on the truck (couldn't do without it Ravi!), especially since our older truck has now "retired" from service and will be sold for parts.  So again we are looking for a second truck.

To keep these Kids' Kitchen programs functioning, we pay for small stipends to the women and youth who are doing all the food prep and cooking (starting at 5:00 am, five days a week), otherwise we could not continue providing this essential service.

Thanks to some generous donors, we were able to build shelters in Los Mangoes, La Peña and Mezcala for the Kids' Kitchens.  
 

Mango official opening Nov 17 2021.JPG
IMG_0396.JPG
One expense that has been rapidly increasing is the cost of medicines that we have been paying for.  These are life saving medicines for renal patients.  
Tacrolimus is one of the drugs that renal transplant patients need to protect them from rejection of the transplanted kidney.  It used to cost 455 pesos a month (around $22 US) per person, but since November 2021, we have been paying more than 1,356 pesos (around $64 US) for 50 tablets.  And even at that price, it's difficult to find.  The government hospitals used to supply these drugs, but they no longer are able to do so....  it's very worrying because more people will die without this medicine...   
In December 2022, we were unable to get many of these essential medicines because of lack of supply.  It's very worrying.
Projects:  We continue with our ESL classes; literacy classes for adults and youth, tutoring for high school students who are doing on-line high school.  We have an amazing program for children with different needs - once a week in Mezcala and in San Pedro;  we have expanded the sewing program; created a very popular hairdressing program; and are teaching a new group of students jewelry making.

Despensas:  We continue with despensa distribution to renal patient families with the support of FoodBank Lakeside. 
We are grateful to Violet Unidad Médico Dental A.C for recently installing modern dental services in the San Pedro Itzicán office and providing dental services free of charge.  We hope to find more dentists who will assist.
 
The Lila K Foundation also provided dental education in October and November 2022.  Think about it. Unclean or rotting teeth and unhealthy dental practices, all would affect other organs of the body - including the kidneys... so this is really important.  Of course we always need donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste!  Many families, if they have toothbrushes, have to share them...


We want to find a doctor to come regularly to San Pedro Itzicán to see patients.  (Anita does not have the time to drive people to Chapala to see the doctor at the Tepehua Community Center (though we very much appreciate that collaboration.)  We will have to pay for these services, but they are vital to the community (San Pedro Itzicán has a population of around 7,000 people...) and no government medical services.  People there cannot afford private doctors in Poncitlán or elsewhere.

And after more than a year of negotiations, and much legal support, (thank you Lissa's Legacy for that), we purchased a small piece of land in San Pedro Itzicán to be the future community center for the town.   

 

We are now in the early planning of clearing the land, backfilling it (and putting in a large water storage tank and septic tank), and then fencing the property.  We will also work on Anita's home, because it's opposite the community center location, and we can do both jobs at once.  We need to urgently move the old Brigada office Kids' Kitchen as we have to vacate that office because of asbestos danger. 

You may ask - why are we helping Anita and this San Pedro area?  Watch this video from July 2021 to understand and learn more ...

bottom of page