Christmas In the Colonias, Filled With Wonderful Gifts And Smiles

BY: LISA VAUGHAN

On Tuesday, November 12, the first volunteer meeting was held to benefit The Christmas in the Colonias effort. The meeting was on the Ocean at the Cascadas Restaurant that is located in Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas.

The final meeting was held on December 9 at the Walmart Shopping Center in Cabo San Lucas where Cross Fit Gym donated their facility for the meeting and provided storage for all the donations.

Lisa Christmas in the colonias.jpg

The leader of the charity is Donna Timmons and the co-leader is Sherrie Miller. Lina Zutz is the food committee leader and the coordinator is Christa Maurer.

The Christmas in the Colonias effort is dedicated to gathering toys and food donations for Mexican children and their families who are in need. This annual event occurs each year on Christmas Day and the ultimate goal every year is to give a memorable Christmas to local kids and their families.

Fortunately, approximately 75 volunteers attended the first meeting since there were a lot of details to plan and prepare for the charity event. Responsibilities were assigned to each attendee and questions were answered by the committee. The Steering Committee suggested a list of toys to purchase and a list of food items for the food bags that would be distributed.

At the final meeting before the event on Christmas Day, Donna Timmons explained specific details such as where over one-hundred volunteers would meet on Christmas Day in Cabo San Lucas and carpool options volunteers had offered. All questions were addressed about safety; no personal pets allowed or feeding the local dogs onsite to avoid dog fights, and all belongings should be locked in vehicles. Volunteers were encouraged to bring bottled water but were informed there would be no available restrooms.

The week before Christmas, Sherrie Miller followed up via email, phone calls, and messenger to all volunteers. She did an incredible job coordinating drivers and vehicles to take passengers out to both the Caribe area and the Lagunitas area. The vehicles needed to accommodate four to six passengers and be four by four vehicles to make the trip. Personal vehicles were not allowed to make the trip unless they were assigned in advance with a designated driver. Carpooling was a necessity due to limited parking and vehicle model types needed to complete the journey.

Two days before Christmas Day volunteers loaned large and small tables along with purchasing needed diapers. Another huge act of kindness came from Carlos, a gentleman that was previously the Chef at Alexander Restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. He lives in the Barrios and took the time and effort to clean up all the soccer fields, raise the electric lines so vehicles could enter their location. He also shoveled sand so vehicles did not get grounded. He prepared the location for safe entry for the Christmas Day arrival and was a tremendous help in many ways.

On Christmas Day, once again Cross Fit Gym donated their gym space, parking area, and restroom facilities. Over one-hundred volunteers met there Christmas morning at 8:30 a.m. to reconfirm their responsibilities, join in group photos at 9 a.m. and then all took off to greet the children and their families in two caravans.

Caravan one that drove to Lagunitas "Parque Union, Soccer Field," Sherrie Miller was in charge of Noreen Steinke, Julie Anderson, and Allan Sharpe helped supervise while Diane Noxon gave special instructions. Caravan two that drove to the Caribe area Donna Timmons was in charge of. Bill Shepherd and Dinah Briggs helped supervise.

There were three Santa's, many elves and lots of toys along with necessities loaded in vehicles to deliver to the families.

The Steering Committee along with volunteers had all items separated in advance by age groups, gender, and placed them into vehicles with assigned drivers before Christmas Day. This effort was pertinent to ensure all items were ready to be transported to the two separate Colonias (Barrios). All volunteers had assigned parking areas and the Firemen, (or as referred to in Spanish, Bomberos), from the Cabo Fire Department, parked outside of the soccer field in case a fire broke out and all would need to depart quickly.

This was the first year the event was assisted by the Cabo Fire Department. The Fire Department was a huge support. They sent a crew of thirty Bomberos on Christmas Day with their fire trucks. In addition to providing safety, they helped volunteers with translation and kept the families in an orderly line to receive their gifts. Twenty members from "Paws and Claws" handed out dog food to the pets and prescription eyeglasses to the community.

All volunteers wore a Santa Hat or Reindeer Horns while the toys, food items, necessities, and Zote soap, (a Mexican brand of soap) were giving to families. Over 1,000 toys and 300 food bags were given to the children and their families. Elf's were helpful throughout the celebration and Santa's had assigned tents for families to capture pictures with Santa. The Christmas event lasted until noon afterward all volunteers chipped in to clean up the activity sites.

Donna Timmons and Sherrie Miller would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the donors and volunteers for their time and efforts to make this wonderful Christmas occasion possible. They also very much appreciate those who spent their Christmas Day with the families of the Colonias. If you wish to donate to this incredible cause, you may contact Sherrie Miller at cabosherrie@gmail.com