Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tamale Basket Packing Underway!

The Tamale Basket marathon got underway this morning in Panajachel, with both staff and volunteers arriving at 8am to get started on the holiday gifts that so many families are looking forward to.  We'll be working all day tomorrow Monday to put together and pass out the baskets, which include the ingredients for the traditional Christmas meal of tamales and hot chocolate, as well as other staples.

The families of our sponsored students, as well as members of our Family Aid and Elderly Care programs, look forward to these baskets every year.  Last year, we were able to give out about 1,600 baskets.  Since each basket can feed 10 people, that means 16,000 people were able to participate in the Christmas tradition, not to mention have a filling meal, thanks to the generosity of all of you--our amazing donors!

Though we're getting down to the wire, we are still about 350 baskets short of the 1600 baskets we handed out last year.  The 1250 baskets that we already have will do a world of good--that's 12,500 people who won't go hungry, and 1,250 impoverished families who might be able to forget about their need for at least one night.

But this year has been an exceptionally hard one here in Panajachel and the surrounding towns--global economic downturn has taken its toll on Guatemala's economy, and an especially violent rainy season has destroyed crops, homes, and livelihoods.  Many families that had been fighting to stay afloat before have now slipped into real poverty.  Undoubtedly, for many, this will be the first Christmas where the traditional meal is out of reach, and the first time that hunger becomes an unwelcome guest at the holiday table.  Please help us prevent this, for as many people as we possibly can.

To send a Tamale Basket ($35) to a family in need, go to Donate Now, and enter your gift in the "Community Aid" box.  To designate a particular family to receive your basket, please enter either their family aid number or a the number of a sponsored student in the box marked "Extra Notes."

Here are some more pictures of the activity this morning:

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