December 7 we celebrated Christmas and served a luncheon to 190 disadvantaged women and men. Many of these elderly people had arrived in the morning anticipating their usual breakfast and then chose to stay and await this special Christmas event and lunch.
Some of those we serve walk two hours to town and in many cases ours is their only meal of the day, so this was a particularly special day for them!
We were overwhelmed and delighted by the number of people gathered that day, but we had enough food and a small gift for everyone!
Our amazing team of volunteers served a full lunch consisting of a piece of chicken, rice, potatoes, muffin and salad.
Our donations also enabled us to set up a special dessert table for an extra treat – and not a crumb was left!
We had anticipated serving up to 150 people and amazingly enough we had everything needed to be able to serve an extra 40 people!
Our Missionary led the singing of several Christmas carols with the words of the songs displayed on a large screen to enable those gathered to join in the festivities of the day. Another group had prepared a specially-themed skit to entertain those gathered just prior to our serving of the meal. We even had a brief time of traditional dancing with many smiles had by all!
As a special Christmas gift, each person received a handmade hat or scarf and a goody bag filled with the traditional cookies (similar to our animal cookies), small chocolates and hard candy.
I apologize that we were unable to have any photos of the lovingly hand-made scarves and hats as they were placed in to-go bags before our photographers could get to them that day.
I would like to give special recognition to those who made and shared the special hats and scarves we were able to give as gifts this year. A particularly gracious woman from the U.S. made over 70 hats and sent them to my daughter for me to bring to Cotacachi when I returned in October.
These hat sizes ranged from newborn babies to toddlers and adults.
The new baby hats were given to a mid-wife group and our local government hospital where the poor deliver their babies. The toddler sizes were distributed to a poor Indigenous village in the mountains, the remainder were given to those we serve as part of their Christmas gift.
In Cotacachi, we have a group of expat women who knit and crochet scarves, hats, blankets, booties, socks and other items for people in need throughout the year. These women have generously and repeatedly shared with those we serve at Hatu Mikui.
As the numbers of those who need our help has increased, our financial needs have also increased. We are now purchasing enough food to serve up to 80 people daily Monday through Friday. Our breakfast budget is $600 a month and we are in need of on-going donations to enable us to continue our service to those we seek to assist.
This is a great time to send an end-of-year donation in order to receive benefits for the 2015 tax year.
Please remember that your donations are tax-deductible in the U.S. Ecuador Project Hope is sponsored by the Global Help Foundation, a registered 501 (c) (3) organization in Florida.
Many thanks for caring!
Thanks to LaRena Murphy for supplying the photos.