Well here we are nearly 4 months into the COVID crisis and things are just starting to open up. Hotels are allowed up to 30% occupancy and Zihua/Ixtapa is currently at 22%. Restaurants are allowed to open with loads of restrictions and some have but most have chosen to stay closed. The beaches opened last week but also with restrictions.

We are seeing more national tourists and a few foreigners. If you needed to buy a pair of shoes you would be out of luck as other than essential services, most businesses are still closed.

We are still delivering about 300 despensas a week, with the biggest request being for baby formula. I was able to get one load from Sam’s club at less than half price but that is long gone.

People are anxious to return to work but are worried. The state of Guerrero is still at level Orange with cases on the rise. As of yesterday, Zihuatanejo had 288 confirmed cases and 38 deaths. Sadly two of the deaths were friends of mine, both teachers. One was our beloved social worker from Casa Para Ninos.

Our system of captains for distribution in the various communities is working really well, we have not had a single case of duplication and people are reporting that they are returning to work. We keep a huge master list so we know who has received what and when. Our captains keep a pretty close watch on the needs of their community. Merza sells to us at wholesale prices, packages the dispenses and then our community captains pick them up and deliver them.

We had hoped that with hotels and restaurants opening up the need would slow somewhat but that is not the case. the people we are helping seem to be the last ones to be called back.

Our two community kitchens are still producing about 350 family meals per day. The volunteers are nothing short of amazing.

We are still receiving donations thankfully. The residents from Las Palmas Condominiums in Playa Blanca have been extremely generous and deserve more than an honorable mention. Between cash donations, matching donations and making us the benefactor for their rental income, they have been a godsend for us. The blessings that ALL the recipients send to show how deeply appreciated the Rice and Beans Program really is, thank you so much for your donations.

The schools will not reopen in August, we currently have no date for school to return so classes will continue online. We will have to continue paying for internet and school fees. Sponsors have sent money to help their student’s families. The level of concern for our people is actually pretty amazing. Now we have a system in place when sponsors send funds for their families they are able to pick up what they need directly from the store rather than us trying to decide what they need most.
If we could just convince everyone to wear a mask we would be in great shape. I am cautiously optimistic we will learn to live with this horrible virus.

It would be wonderful if my next report could say thank you very much but the greatest need is over, but for now that is definitely not the case.

Donations are tax-deductible in Canada, the USA and in Mexico (donations).   Once again the community of Zihuatanejo thanks you for your support and we hope we will be able to see you all soon.

Stay healthy!

19 July 2020