Across Puerto Peñasco, several individuals, groups, community centers, and organizations (governmental and non-governmental alike) are stepping into incredible roles to try and address several pressing needs that have arisen or been magnified by the Covid-19 alternate universe we find ourselves in during what would usually be one of the busiest times of the year in town.
Following the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Sonora on March 16th, bold steps were taken at both the State and Local level, as well as by the Federal government shortly thereafter, to restrict access to beaches – and now to the whole town – implement Stay at Home policies, and business closures except for essential items related mostly to food and health (oh, and banking and bills). Many families find themselves without work for possibly the first time ever, while others who were already living on the edge are now facing even greater challenges just to get by.
Yet, a tidal wave of humanity has also washed over Puerto Peñasco through all this…one that can hopefully stretch through the end of this health contingency, which may extend for another month or so. Many of these efforts are citywide and broadcast across social networks, some of them individual in helping to provide for just a family or two in as much as one can, and others anonymous.
Le damas lata al Covid-19 “Let’s kick Covid-19 in the Can”
This canned food drive of the Municipal DIF Office (Integral Family Development) kicked off immediately, encouraging the community to donate non-perishable food items for food baskets for the elderly and persons with disabilities. The goal is to distribute the food baskets every 15 days. Donations received at the DIF office at intersection of Ave. Sinaloa and Aldolfo Ruiz Cortines 8 am – 5 pm, or can be picked up so you don’t leave your home. Call: 383 6145
Together with direct efforts of the City, a total of 4000 food bags were distributed in the first phase of the program, aimed specifically toward the elderly, those with disabilities, beach vendors, and individuals that are alone or abandoned who are already on the rolls of DIF as vulnerable individuals. Each food bag contains: 2 cans of tuna, a liter of cooking oil, a can of vegetables, tomato puree, a can of condensed milk, 1 kilo of beans, 1 kilo of rice, and 1 kilo of flour, along with two rolls of toilet paper. The goal is to distribute 180 food bags daily.
The local chefs that form this collective also jumped right into action on March 22nd, first with the goal of preparing and distributing meals to those in need, which is now complemented with distribution of food bags to families. After serving 110 meals on the first day from the restaurant patio of one of the members, they have now set up their “General Barracks” at the Quinta Ventura event hall – space donated by Jerry Cañez, chef, business owner and in the trenches with this group of chefs. With strong ties across the community, the chefs have received donations of credit at stores for food purchases, non-perishable items along with fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein, as well as dried goods for preparation of food baskets. Since March 22nd, the Chefs group has now served over 5000 dishes, and now distributes (through the help of volunteers) between 30 – 40 food baskets three times a week – though most recently topped 100 food bags in one day.
AIM Peñasco / Steps of Love
This local organization – with an affiliate 501c3 organization in the U.S. named Steps of Love – generally focuses on education and is currently helping 589 young people in Rocky Point break the cycle of poverty they come from by providing them with access to education. When this crisis hit, both Steps of Love and the local AIM Peñasco team committed to temporarily shifting focus from education to providing food for people throughout the community. Their vetting process and attention to health protocols is outstanding, ensuring help is getting to as many people that really need a helping hand at this time with food baskets. So far, following the first distribution of food baskets on March 27th, the team has assembled and distributed 1260 food boxes at three different sites in the community. Since each box feeds a family of four for one-week, AIM has provided food for a total of 5,040 adults and children so far. Families in need are asked to contact AIM Peñasco for a preliminary interview – you can find them on Facebook as well at: . For more information on how to help this program, please visit: Steps of Love – Helping Puerto Peñasco in Crisis
Food bags made up of: 1 large can of tuna, 1 bag of beans (700 gms),1 bag of rice, 1 bag of sugar, 3 different pastas, 1 Ramen, 1 can veg-all reg size, 1 bag oatmeal, 1 liter of milk,1 Instant coffee (small ), 1 Tomato Sauce, 2 cubes of broth powder, 1 pack of cookies (maravillas), 4 loaves bread,1 kg of fish,1 kg of flour, 1 kg of corn flour, 1 bottle of cooking oil, 1 mayonnaise (small), 1 bar of Zote (soap)
Palabras de Esperanza Community Center – Words of Hope Community Center
Located in Col. San Rafael, over a period of three weeks the Palabras de Esperanza Community has already provided lunches to more than 3000 families in the neighborhoods of Santa Rafael and Nuevo Peñasco. The center, which already had a “soup kitchen” program set up, has expanded this to being able to provide weekly meals to 1000 families on average, while adhering to health protocols. Individuals who come to the center between 12 pm – 2 pm, Monday-Friday, must be wearing a mask/mouth covering, and bring a container for the prepared food items. For more information on the center, please visit: Centro Comunitario Palabras de Esperanza
Family of God Church / Iglesia Familia de Dios
With a lunch program already in place, the bilingual Family of God Church has received up to 400 people a day for a meal, and expect this number may continue to grow in coming weeks. More information at: https://www.facebook.com/RPFOG/
Chef Mickey’s Place
Chef Mickey Medina and his staff also set into movement to help the community as the Covid-19 contingency went into effect. He and his staff have prepared breakfast burritos to distribute within the community. As for many of us with our hearts in the right place, one of the challenges is making sure people are still able to follow health protocols and safe distancing. Follow Chef Mickey (who is reopening for take-out/delivery) at: Chef Mickey’s Place
In addition to these groups, there are those who have organized funds to help support their favorite watering holes and staff in town, others who prepare lunches in an effort to assist the homeless community that may not have a way to prepare food from the food baskets, and still others that are just trying to take care of their own staff while we all wait this out. Thank you to all who love and care for the people in Puerto Peñasco, if you’re here or sending love from afar – we know these are challenging times across the globe, and know that any donation would be greatly appreciated.