New school breakfast program in Palomas, Mexico needs support
Border Partners, a nonprofit organization based in Deming, New Mexico. Border Partners is one of two New Mexico organizations partnering with the community in Palomas, Chihuahua, just across the border from Columbus, New Mexico. The other group is La Luz de La Esperanza Palomas Outreach, which contributed the illustration above.)
School officials were very concerned because 200 children arrived hungry for classes every day in Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico. They approached Border Partners to consider the situation. Local citizens wasted no time in addressing that need. A newly organized volunteer program “took off like a rocket,” according to Peter Edmunds, Border Partners founder and co-director. Their goal: to give each hungry child a breakfast burrito.
The Border Partners group, with donations from people the U.S., provided funding to launch the new school breakfast program in the small economically-struggling town, just across the border from Columbus. The program leadership came from a local team of dedicated volunteers who use economical, solar cookers in food preparation. With a ton of beans purchased from a Deming farmer, the volunteers were able to start, last November, distributing their breakfast burritos each day at three schools. A hot meal opened the students’ school day with a nutritious start.
But, as the prophet Nehemiah would remind us: every advance of God can encounter a setback. Sadly, the school breakfast program—begun as such a resounding success—has encountered difficulties as the citizens of Palomas struggle to find funding so they can continue purchasing the food for volunteers to prepare. They did not have food to prepare during January.
Border Partners is helping them to start a recycling program that should eventually provide at least some of the money to keep the program going but, for now, they are dependent on donations.
They are also trying to reduce the cost of the burrito and find cheaper sources of the component foods. Bean producer, Eddy Diaz at Diaz Farms in Deming, has promised to provide pinto beans at a very low price. Peppers Supermarket in Deming has agreed to sell Border Partners the other food needed at a 50% discount.
Now, the basic burrito, consisting of a tortilla, beans and a little cheese, costs only about 15 cents or $30.00 per school day for the 200 students. And, once again, the volunteers are making burritos and delivering them to the schools!
Border Partners is hoping that U.S. funding will supplement the program until the Palomas volunteers can secure a sustainable and stable source of income to pay for expenses.
Contributions for the school food project are tax-deductible. Checks payable to “Border Partners” can be earmarked for the “School Breakfast Program” and sent to:
406. S. Granite Street
Deming, NM 88030