BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ
A coalition of Baja California Sur non-profit and Corganizations, along with several businesses, have formed the Baja California Sur Community Alliance (ACBCS) in response to the medical supply shortage and food crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance works in coordination with the local, state and federal government.
ACBCS seeks to achieve three objectives: 1) that no person in BCS goes without food during the period of the pandemic, 2) support medical services by providing the tools necessary to effectively treat patients during the crisis, 3) become a permanent network of support that is able to step back into action during any and all future emergencies.
One of the major goals ACBCS has is the daunting task of raising $7.5 million USD in the coming weeks in order to distribute food and hygiene supplies for over 40,000 families in Baja California Sur and also providing support for the health institutions and hospitals with medical supplies for the next several months as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
As of April 15, $250,000 USD worth of medical equipment has been purchased and food aid has been distributed with another $1.25 million USD raised. A private donor, through the International Community Foundation, has offered a 2 to1 match up to $500,000 USD towards emergency food relief, which will result in $1 million USD for the families of Baja California Sur. This same donor has provided a 1 to 1 match up to $250,000 for much needed medical supplies.
Through this network, the ACBCS is in a commanding position to help immediately.
“Now is the time we can truly make a difference in Baja California Sur. Please visit the Baja California Sur Community Alliance website at http://www.acbcs.org.mx,” said ACBCS member and director of the El Dorado and Chileno Bay Foundation, Korey Riggs.
Riggs said the Undersecretary of Health declared the social distance order would stay in effect until May 30; the Coronavirus peak is expected to be at its highest between May 8 and May 10. The quarantine in La Paz will remain until the end of May as well, with the government’s optimistic hope that everything can return somewhat back to normal by June 1.
Riggs also stated how important it is to follow protocol and stay home and whenever outside “Make sure you are wearing a mask. As it stands, the economy is not going to come back as fast as we would like and is being pushed further away until we can return to normal activities.”
The ACBCS goal of raising $7.5 million USD will feed 40,000 families for the next two to three months. Riggs also emphasized the ACBCS network will become a permanent joint effort, ready to help at a moment’s notice. La Alianza (ACBCS) also provided about $2 million USD in equipment for first responders. They initially received $250,000 in donations, which has gone up to $1.5 million USD.
He urges anyone who would like to get involved and volunteer to visit the ACBCS website which is in English and Spanish. Any monetary donations receive non-profit tax receipts for either USA IRS or Mexico Hacienda purposes.
“We are training our volunteers so they have the right kind of gloves and masks and we have protection with the marines when giving out packages. It is very important that people join to help safely deliver bags of food and supplies. This week 600 packages were delivered in La Paz,” he said on Cabo Mil, and added that, “almost 400 were given away in Cabo – some to Casa de Los Abuelos and Casa Hogar.”
The ACBCS Alianza also received $2,000 from the Solmar Foundation and $2,500 from El Dorado and Chileno Bay Foundation.
Incredibly, the telethon bus transported five children requiring chemotherapy to La Paz.
“On behalf of hundreds of donors that are responding to this emergency need through the International Community Foundation, we couldn’t be more pleased with the Alianza. In the short term, this coalition is just what is needed. I hope we can continue this philanthropic collaboration for other priority needs in the future. With funding from Alumbra Innovations Foundation, ICF is proud to have been able to respond early and effectively,” said Anne McEnany, President and CEO, International Community Foundation.
Also joining La Alianza (Baja California Sur Community Alliance – ACBCS) in mid-April was The Solmar Foundation, which has maintained its tradition of supporting the community and contributes to firefighters and the most vulnerable population through its foundation.
Since the beginning of April, they have worked with more than 20 volunteers to build pantries and support the Cabo San Lucas Fire Department with material to protect doctors and firefighters.
Led by Dinorah de Haro, The Solmar Foundation reported their non-profit organization has been working for several weeks helping to combat the aftermath the COVID-19 pandemic has been leaving in Baja California Sur and specifically, in the municipality of Los Cabos.
She also highlighted the Solmar group of hotels have the tradition of being a business group that has always supported the community, and that the Solmar group of executives have not – during this health contingency for COVID-19 – fired any of their managers at any of their six resort hotels, and that up to 3,000 employees continue receiving their income despite the fact their six resort hotels are currently closed.
Because of this, Dinorah de Haro said they have joined the Baja California Sur Community Alliance to work with other civic and business organizations to help the unprotected population of this region. A team of 20 Solmar Foundation volunteers in partnership with the Mexican Navy of Cabo will distribute 2,000 food bags in the most vulnerable of neighborhoods.
The bags contain vegetable oil, natural spring water, standard sugar, refried beans, tuna in water, Maria brand cookies, iodized salt, classic instant coffee, dairy foods, small breed adult dog food, bar soap, toilet paper, fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, multi-pack cleaner, chlorine multi-pack bleach, multi-use powder detergent and microfiber towels.
Director de Haro also explained that they are currently feeding 15 Red Cross paramedics daily and this support will continue as they work to benefit the community in the face of the pandemic. In addition to this, de Haro reported that on April 13 and 14 they delivered 500 bags to people with extreme needs such as the terminally ill, disabled, single mothers and first-tier civic organizations such as firefighters and medical personnel in need of food.
She stressed that The Solmar Foundation is a second-tier organization that receives much-needed donations from guests and timeshare partners. These donations are matched by the developer of Solmar Hotels and distributed to organizations such as Friends of Children, nursing homes, BBF scholarships, Autism Network, and Child’s Heart, among others.
Finally, Dinora de Haro pointed out that in recent days they joined with Commander Juan Carbajal of Cabo San Lucas Firefighters and donated snorkel masks, visors and goggles. These unclaimed objects from Solmar Hotels’ lost and found bins have been adapted for the protection and care of life-saving health care personnel.
At press time, Carlos Mendoza, our state governor, announced his administration has joined the Alianza and the state agencies will be participating and supporting its efforts. ,