Friday, December 24, 2010

A Hearty Thank You

I've had a few months now to put my thoughts together as to how I am going to tell the story of Project Warm Hearts this year. Of course, when it comes down to the wire, everything I had planned to say just doesn't seem adequate. I mean, how can I truly tell people how kind, generous, thoughtful, and warm spirited they are? Or how much their donations have meant to so many people. Me included.

I almost didn't continue with PJW this year. After the near disaster last year when the Mexican postal system decided that import duty had to be paid on every donation....whether store bought or hand made.....and refused to mail anything that did not have a receipt, I thought all was lost. But, as you remember, Kathy and Jaimie from Pau Mau came to the rescue and muled all of the donations to Veracruz. Bless them.

This year I fully intended to make the drive myself to hand deliver the items to John and Anita in Xico, the designated recipient community. Many things conspired against that and it just couldn't take place. After a few consultations with John and Anita, it was decided that it would be best to hand out the donations to needy and deserving individuals of my choice. Anita has already spent the PayPal donations on toys for the kids in Xico (with added funds thrown in by John and Anita, bless them too!) so there was going to be a party for the kids there anyway.

But before I get to the details of what happened here locally, I would like to thank a few people for making this dream of mine a reality. I may miss somebody and I apologise profusely if I do. Remember, my list of donors was stolen along with my computer last June.

I break out into a big smile whenever I even just think the name Jackie Conlon. This kind woman from Portland, and frequent island visitor, has so many points in her Karma bank that she could start making withdrawals anytime she wanted without touching the principle! This lady just gives and gives and gives. Not only here, but in her own community as well. The world should have more Jackies in it. So, thank you Jackie. From the bottom of my heart.

And then there are Ann and Alan Booth. Also island regulars and truly caring people.

Of equal importance are Croft Randle and Norma. I always want to switch his name around! Again, island visitors and faithful donators to PJW every year. They dig down every year and give so much to this project.

I thank all four of you most sincerely.

Also never failing to find room in their suitcases for something for the kids are Richard and Joanne Grainger. Over the years, these two delightful people have also become friends. They always find something really unique to bring down. Among the things last year were gloves with faces and string hair on each finger. Too cute. Thank you guys!

But really, the award for furthest travelled donation goes to Bill and Michelle Jones. They found room, don't ask me how, to bring down these gently used men's sweaters. Wow. I need to give them a special personal thank you.

Santa, or somebody similar to him, absolutely made me steal one of these sweaters for my own personal use! Hey, it gets freezing cold down here! One of these sweaters has helped keep me toasty as I sit at my computer in the evening. I am grateful.

I vividly recall getting the summons to go visit this lady. Kim Jones.

She, too, had found room to pack clothing and school items. Some really cute Christmas theme pencils that have been a tremendous hit to every child who has received one. Thank you, Kim.

The majority of the clothing items donated, as well as the 33 hats that I knit this year, have been given out to needy families here on Isla. Mostly to the residents of the neighborhood called Guadalapena. Some of the items have been taken to Cancun where they will be passed out by my best friend, LisaLoveLoca. Actually, they are being taken, along with the toys we were able to purchase with the cash donations, to poor villages just outside of Cancun, in the jungle.

And look, just look!, at what your donations were able to purchase!

I'm a sucker for Barbie dolls, or Barbie type dolls, since it was a Barbie doll that got this whole charity running in the first place. The ones you see pictured here were, in US money, $2.75 each. Small price to pay to give some little girl a princess to call her own.
See those giant balls? They were $1.66 each! And the trucks and car carriers and Jeeps we were able to buy. Most of them only $1.50 each. Giant earth moving machines. Plenty to keep a child's imagination flowing.
I mention the prices only to show you just how far even a $5 donation will go down here.
Next year, Project Warm Hearts is going to take a slightly different direction, with a slightly different goal. But always for the children. I will be giving you the details in February, along with a very special surprise fund raiser!
Again, thank you times one million! It is you guys, with your generous and warm hearts, that have made all of this possible for the third year in a row. I bow my head to all of you.
Merry Christmas to all of you, my faithful readers and companions throughout the year.


Jackie said...

Ah shucks Wayne you brought tears to my eyes. I give because I care but also keep in mind the old saying "There but for the grace of God go I".

You deserve to be blessed as well for allowing us the opportunity to give back to the island for all the joy she and her residents bring to us visitors.

Steve Cotton said...

And without you, it would not be happening. Merry Christmas.

Ann said...

Ditto what jackie said...And Merry Christmas to you & yours--thank you for all you....I'm sure the families in Guadalupana appreciated all that you brought there. I will email you about bringing stuff this year--maybe you just want some truffles from Vasilows?!

Sandia said...

Great post! I am proud to be with friends with Ann/Alan/Jackie - they are truly giving folks....And thank YOU for all the generosity and caring you've shown to thsoe less fortunate...and your knitting! [I handle a needle like a crowbar]...the world would be a better place if all showed the attitude of gratitude...Sandia

Barb said...

Great job, everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Marc Olson said...

Sounds like the spirit of Christmas is alive and well on Isla. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Wayne.

Hollito said...

Even I have not been seen here for a while: Merry Christmas, Wayne! *<:-)=
Hope we will meet one day.

Jones Gang, aka hogfamily said...

Merry Christmas! We do live near the north pole and know Santa. We know that he would want you to have a warm sweater for all the good deeds that you do.


hogfamily, aka Bill, Michelle and Boys.

Islagringo said...

Dear hogfamily: I am so glad you wrote. I have been feeling so guilty about keeping a sweater for myself. Thank you!

Linda said...

Bless you for your loving & generous heart!

I hope you had a great Christmas, and may you have health and happiness in the New Year.!


Doris said...

What a wonderful post....and Yes, I agree...Jackie is a sweetheart! As are all of the people who so generously donated and to you for organizing it all. I would be very happy to donate $$....can you tell me how? Paypal? If it's too late for this year, we will be on Isla in February and I can give you the donation then. I'll also take a look through my teens closets....would you accept/need clothing for that age group?

Happy New Year!

Islagringo said...

Doris: the focus of the charity will be explained later. We are no longer accepting any material goods at all, clothing, school supplies, etc. We will only be collecting cash, but more on that later. I do not use PayPal. They take too big of a commission. I want any monies offered to go to the charity, not some businessmen.

Doris said...

Thanks for the info! I'll watch for new posts and we will search you out in February!


Calypso said...

Kids in Xico and Puerto thank you amigo - you are the best.