Over the past four years, the Sunday School--and Conny!--have worked hard to raise funds to send groceries to the poor in Conny's home town of Guadalajara. Here is her account:
Feeding The Forgotten - by Conny
In 2013 the boys and I were going to Mexico and I was telling Liam and Andrew how Mexico is a very poor country and the poor people have many necessities, from food to clothing the need is great. I told them how sometimes the children don't have shoes to wear to school because their families don't have enough money. It made me remember my own childhood and how my Dad would put cardboard inside my shoes to patch the holes before I went to school. This was the moment that Andrew, who was seven years old at the time, to decide to set up a lemonade stand after church and raise money to buy groceries for the poor people in Guadalajara.
That first lemonade stand raised enough money to buy enough rice, beans, sugar and toilet paper to fill 50 bags of groceries. We set off for the streets in my sister's car to search for the poor people of the city. Liam and Andrew gave the bags to people begging and working on the streets. One person who stands out in my memory was a 75 year old lady who was picking up empty card board boxes in a market and selling them so she could buy food. There was also a blind 80 year old man and his dog begging for coins at a traffic light, we gave him our last two bags of groceries.
In 2014 and 2015 it was winter when Andrew and Liam sold hot chocolate and cookies (2014) then hot chocolate and mini cinnamon buns (2015). Over $200 was raised each time, enough for 150 bags of groceries for the two years combined total. In 2014 the money was sent to my sister Betty who filled the bags with rice, beans, cooking oil and sugar. She drove around the city with her children Andrea and Edwin and my niece Cynthia handing out the bags with great success and gratitude from all.
The 2015 trip I got to participate again as I had gone down to Mexico to see my mother, leaving the boys at home with Ian as they had school. Lina and I put together another 75 bags of groceries and set out once again. The most striking recipients for me were a man and his son with no shoes scavenging a vacant lot for things to sell. Then a native lady and her daughter begging outside a convenience store. When I gave her the bag of groceries suddenly eight more people appeared and none left empty handed. It was a wonderful feeling to help so many people but, a little heartbreaking at the same time to find so many people in need of help.
This year Andrew, Liam and the other parish children held a Mercado (Market) and raised $300 which was sent down to Betty. This time she made only 50 bags but they were much bigger and with a larger number of items; rice, sugar, beans, toilet paper, cookies and cooking oil. Each bag contained a little slip of paper with a photo of St. Oswald's and saying in Spanish, 'From your friends at St. Oswald's Anglican Church, Surrey, BC, Canada'.
Talking with my sister and my mother it seems that the necessity is greater than ever and the people are happy and relieved to receive a bag of groceries. This time Betty left some bags of groceries with my mother who regularly has people knocking on her door asking for a few coins or food. My mother told me that she gave the last of her grocery bags away to a 25 year old man with torn clothes and in "pretty bad shape". She told him this story of her daughter and grandsons in Canada who raised money at church to buy the groceries. He was so excited, happy and surprised that people so far away are able to help the forgotten.
Helping others reminds me of when I was a child and didn't have much. This is a wonderful way to teach my children that always there are people who need help and I hope that this continues as a long time project.