With large numbers of Puerto Vallarta residents being out of work and income, putting the next meal on the table has become a daily concern for many.
Hotels, restaurants, airlines, recreational destinations, and other businesses relying on tourism have all taken a huge hit. Many other businesses have also had to scale down and/or reduce their hours, and some have closed altogether. All this results in thousands upon thousands of lost jobs, and a greatly reduced grocery budget for those workers.
My family has done what we can from home, and I hope you are, too. We buy almost all of our groceries from small local markets, and we spread that around amongst them. We try to buy at least a little something from the passing vendors, even if we don’t need it. We have shared meals, fruit from our trees, and baked goods that my daughter made with neighbors. Now I do not live in a rich area, but the people here seem to be getting by okay. But some neighborhoods have suffered greatly. So how do we really help?
On my recent visit to Cacao Magico for their Cacao Bean to Chocolate Bar tour, I noticed a donation box for Vallarta Food Bank, an organization I was not aware of. I asked owner Mitch Regehr what he knew about them. He told me they were newly formed since the pandemic crisis, having just started up in April. They are entirely donation and volunteer based, non-profit of course. They started with a few volunteers and some donated food, and have grown to serve more than 3000 families in the Puerto Vallarta area. The project was greatly inspired by Dean Regehr, Mitch’s father and business partner, whom is also a partner in the new Puerto Magico cruise ship terminal.
They and a group of other local business owners including Michael Bracken, Brett LaMar, Rafael Amormim, Oscar Becerra, and Ernesto Paulsen have been volunteering with the Food Bank on an outreach mission to bring much needed food supplies to families in outlying areas. Every week they volunteer their Thursday to deliver dispensas to over 200 families in Ojo del Agua, El Canton, and La Desembocada. Each dispensa contains enough to feed a small family for a week, including rice, beans, grains, masa, and vegetables.
Vallarta Food Bank would love to hear from you, as they exist entirely on donations. You can donate food, money, time, hand gel, facemasks, or baby products. For more information on how to donate please contact them.
And a tremendous Thank You to all of those who have helped out with this very necessary cause. This crisis is not yet over, and we don’t know how long it will last, so please, folks, help continue this generous effort and give back to your community.
Thanks to Vallarta Food Bank and thanks to Dean and Mitch from Cacao Magico