Nine years ago, my husband and I were discussing what would be the best way for us to contribute back to our community. We wanted to help where it was most needed, and there is much need in the Dominican Republic. We also wanted to teach our daughters the joy of sharing and the importance of helping others. We did not want them to be so attached to material things that they missed the true spirit of Christmas. With the help of my parents and our church we identified a remote community in Jarabacoa, a town located in the Central Mountain Range of the island.
This community is so remote it is only reachable by a mule/horse or a 4WD vehicle. The nickname says how remote it is; “La Travesia del Mulo,” (mule crossing.) There are no paved roads through this mountainous area. There is only a rural dirt road. This is a small community with no jobs or ways to make money. The people are very poor. The community is all but forgotten. They get along on their cultivated crops and their livestock.
That first year with support of my siblings, parents and a few friends, we started our mission to help this community celebrate Christmas. So, early in the morning of Christmas Eve we hit the road in our Church’s SUV. We brought toys for the children and a box of food for every family. The food box included everything they would need for a traditional Dominican Christmas dinner. Christmas eve dinner in DR is equivalent to Thanksgiving in the US.
Your donations will be used to purchase toys and food. We want to give every child two toys, with an estimated value of $15 US and a box of food to each family with an estimated cost of $30 US (which contains rice, chicken, carrots, cooking oil, potatoes, raisins, apples, grapes, sugar, mayonnaise, tomato paste, spaghetti, beans, seasoning, and Christmas candies). This allows the families to make a traditional holiday dinner and the children love their toys.
All this work, collecting, purchasing, and preparing the toys and boxes are done by our family and friends. This is very rewarding experience. With a small sacrifice, a significant difference can be made for these families.
We hope we can count on you support.
Thank you and have a blessed holidays.
- Bryan Pena
- Mariela Jimenez
- John Williams
- Arevalo Benjamin Santana Matos
Organizer and beneficiary
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