By Jesús Aguado
There are more than 400 pantries providing for the needy, including an organic garden[NT1] .
Mirna Montes, 44 years old, lived in the city of Hermosillo in Sonora until two years ago. She and her family originally came to Hermosillo to work on a housing project, but the project was cancelled after an earthquake in the area in 2018. It was then that they decided to sell what they had and move to San Miguel.
In Hermosillo she got to know Papá Nino and Mamá Nina, an older couple who had for years maintained a donation pantry distributing necessities to migrants. Montes and a group of 10 friends and acquaintances joined the effort. “They helped heal and feed the migrants and gave us an example to follow, so we created a team. They were our inspiration,” said Montes.
In San Miguel de Allende, Montes found that families and friends were bringing food to the entrance of the General Hospital for relatives of the patients. “I am the liaison officer for Doctores de Sonrisas in San Miguel, and I saw the need. We began visiting communities to bring clothes, toys, and kitchen items. We prepared sandwiches, tacos, and bread donated by Sanmiguelenses,” said Montes who is the founder of Amigos al Cien.
“When we began to see what was happening in other countries with Covid-19, we realized that at any moment it would arrive in Mexico. San Miguel lives off of tourism and we knew that there would be closures of hotels and restaurants, and that many residents live day to day. It’s not that there is not a savings culture; it’s more difficult to save when what one earns is spent on the basic necessities of life. We have met many people who would use what they earned one day to buy what they needed for the next. We thought about what they would do without income and work. We thought of those who work as housecleaners, cooks, and as artisans. What will they do without tourism? That was when we began to solicit donations,” Montes told us.
Soon Amigos al Cien caught the attention of different people, among them Guadalupe Álvarez who pushed the cause forward. They began to give provisions to disadvantaged people who make their livings in the center of town, for example the blind and musicians. Images of these people are posted on Facebook to show where donations are going.
Currently there are 15 people handling messages on WhatsApp and collecting data for Amigos al Cien, and 10 people collect the donations and distribute them in the streets of San Miguel. Another group of 10 goes to different neighborhoods looking for those in need.
There is a strict protocol regarding the donations that follows recommendations from health authorities.
“We are working up to 18 hours a day,” said Montes. She said that the people asking for donations are mostly single mothers. “We have found some very sad cases. We arrived at a house where they had not eaten for four days. We could not wake one person whose glucose level was dangerously low. People are desperate and they don’t know how long they can last. There are people going out to harvest nopales. There is great uncertainty and desperation and fear about how they will survive over the next weeks.”
There are several ways for you to donate. Donations can be taken to the Fire Station. Donations are received between 9am and 2pm, or between 3pm and 7pm. Monetary donations can be made through Paypal at, paypal.me/AmigosalCien.
To request donations please send a message to: 415 117 9745 or 415 103 6828
[NT1]This statement, with no antecedent makes little sense…Who has 400? Where in SMA???