Yesterday, we had an opportunity to participate in a family service project. I have been trying to find one for a long time, and bounced many ideas back and forth. My office ended up coming up with a perfect one that would allow many folks to participate, and given that it is with a long-standing organization, we will be able to continue volunteering while we are here, and supporting financially once we are gone.
This is not to say there are not many other worthy organizations here, as there are and we already have another group lined up to receive our support this year. However, there has to be a starting point, and that was yesterday with the children who are assisted by the organization, Pure Heart Children's Fund, which is run by a local couple, Dean and Winnie Peters. The organization exists to help feed and educate the children of La Chureca (the Managua city dump). While improvements have been made recently to the area to include relocation, there is still assistance needed, particularly for the children.
Saturday was a Christmas party for over 200 children (200 were anticipated, likely many more attended). It was a crazy fun afternoon of pinatas, lunch and milk (donations from our families), and donated toys and school supplies given out at the end. In fact, we weren't sure we would have enough, but between the toys that others brought and the toys and supplies we had, there were plenty of leftovers that could be donated to the preschool the Peters are running to assist those living near La Chureca.
In addition to the preschool, the Peters assist with daily feedings for the children. They feed the children Monday-Friday, and truly give their hearts and souls to this project. We truly enjoyed our time on Saturday, meeting the children, watching them dance and play, and plan on ensuring that helping out Pure Heart is an integral part of our time here in Managua.