This morning I got up early and was picked up by our friend Don to go and help out at the Place of Hope. This is a volunteer organization that helps feed the poorest of the poor in Cotacachi. Each morning, volunteers gather at the centre to prepare a morning meal for the mostly elder citizens of the community.
Food is donated or purchased locally, some of it even grown in a field beside the facility and tended to by some of the elders. Chairs are lined up in the courtyard, keeping everyone socially distanced. There are shower facilities provided with hot water for those who need it. Don told me that the first time some of the women had a hot shower, they emerged crying because they were so happy!
Once everyone has had time to socialize a bit, they receive some fresh fruit. Today it was a banana, mango, and pepino. They each get a piece of fried bread, then a hot drink that I can’t remember what it is made from. Then everybody who has brought their own plate or bowl, gets some rice, a piece of chicken and broth, and a slice of fried plantain. For some, this is the only meal they will get for the entire day. It was heartwarming to see the smiles and gratitude shown by these wonderful people.
I donate a small amount of money each month to this organization. Today, they are raffling off a pair of airline tickets donated by Jet Blue. All the money raised goes directly towards maintaining the facility and feeding these wonderful people who so desperately need anything we can give.
The Place of Hope was founded by Mickey Enright, a local expat realtor. We had the pleasure of meeting her several years ago on one of our first visits to Cotacachi. Sadly, she passed away in late 2019 just after our last visit. If this is something you would like to help with, here is a link to the foundation website where you can donate to this great cause.