Our Kids Kitchens help the needy residents of San Pedro Itzicán, Mezcala, La Peña and Mango
An estimated 70% of children in the San Pedro Itzicán area suffer from malnutrition, which is a major risk factor for kidney disease (that is so prevalent in the area).  So, providing children a healthy meal has a huge added benefit! 

When the Brigada office was closed to the public from March through August 2020, the children lined up to receive food, and took it home to eat. 

The amazing team of mothers in San Pedro do the cooking, and since January 2021 the Brigada's Kids Kitchen area is again open to the children in San Pedro, 5 days a week.   This program provided food for more than 100 children, five days a week.

Foodbank Lakeside is now providing the funding for the food for the Kids Kitchens and for the renal patients we help.  If you wish to donate towards food, please direct your donations to them. 

Poco a Poco provide the services to drive the food to the different locations, as well as provide small stipends to the youth who do some of the work, and we continue to purchase clean water and tortillas for the Kids Kitchens.

In February 2021, community members asked for more help, so we started providing food for children in La Peña and Mango (a part of San Pedro).  By June 2021 we were feeding 310 children, five days a week.  The cost was 9,000 pesos each week (around $400 US).  For La Peña and Mango, the children lined up to fill their containers with food, and take it home to eat, as there was no covered area to feed them.  It was messy and difficult during the rainy season.   

And then a wonderful donor offered to pay for the two areas to be covered and provide a lock up storage room in each location!  We had the official opening of Mango and La Peña areas on November 17, 2021, with the donor, representing her family, present for the event.  Thank you so much Anne, Scott and family! 

And now we are feeding 465 children a hot meal, five days a week (November 2021).
When things shut down in mid-March 2020, people were desperate, so we started providing despensas (basic food supplies) to over 1,900 families - each week

hanks to the enormous support provided by FoodBank Lakeside and other generous donors, the despensas we were giving out each week included 1 kg each of rice, beans and lentils and fruits and vegetables when they are donated.  We still continue to help our renal patients with extra food and water. 

We also continued to support the more than 50 kidney patients in the villages east of Chapala with extra food and water (now 70 patients).  From mid March until mid-August 2020 we were having to raise over 105,000 pesos each week to pay for food (around $4,250 US a week).   
When people started to go back to work in August 2020, the focus returned to the needs of the children. 

Of course we had not budgeted for the crisis but we did the best we could in the circumstances and continue to do so.  All donations are most happily accepted!  And we are most grateful for the support of

 FoodBank Lakeside

One special group donates towards buying chickens for the Kids Kitchen meals.  The group is called the "Chicken Chicks & Roosters".  These donors generously pre-pay to provide chickens to be purchased for the Kids Kitchen meals. 
Our grateful thanks to these donors and Rita Phillips who coordinates the Los Sabinos "Chicken Chicks and Roosters". 

Because Anita is convinced that these meals are saving lives and saving children from having renal problems, we have expanded this program and we now providing food for 465 children in San Pedro, la Peña, Mango and Mezcala.  But we need funding to include these additional meals...  and we need more Chicken Chicks & Roosters!
Do watch this video on YouTube about how the FoodShare program changed since COVID-19...  
You can appreciate we are still reaching out to ask for donations towards the cost of the food for the Kids Kitchen meals. If you wish to support this initiative, you can direct your donations to FoodBank Lakeside, because they provide us with the money for the food for our Kids Kitchens and for the 70 renal patients we assist.  

During our original FoodShare program, because of our "A Hand up not a hand out", all the families receiving dispenses provide volunteer work in their community. 
During Covid this is still continuing - people are clearing areas of garbage or helping with other projects.  So the people are finding pride.  It's not easy or possible to do everything during the current COVID-19 crisis but we know people realize how invaluable the Brigada team is to their communities. 
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Even soap and water are not always available in homes...

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Many people in these communities are facing many medical issues - especially renal failure.  in 2019, 18 people died from renal failure.  Many were young children!  This is terrible!  Children aged 5 years of age are already showing signs of renal failure.   (The most usual cause for this appears to be:  1.  genetics, 2.  pollution and 3. malnutrition.) 

We can't do much about genetics (these small communities have many inter-family marriages), and pollution is probably due to the water from the lake where they bathe and drink the water if they have no money for bottled water.  Soda drinks are frequently drunk instead of healthier drinks.  (The water quality in the town's water is known to have heavy metals and people do not trust what they get from hoses connected to some houses.)  Sanitation and water treatment processes are not reliable so the water, etc., runs into the lake.  Where people bathe.
And there is widespread malnutrition.  Young children, if not provided with enough protein and fresh vegetables or fruit, are very susceptible to renal failure.  Over 70 families in the area have been identified in 2021 as having renal failure patients in their households.  So sad.
Community Kitchen food
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A medical report that came out in late 2020 estimated that 4 out of every 10 children living in the San Pedro Itzicán area will have renal problems.  This is the link to the article in Spanish.  This is tragic.