Last week. our Mexico support team had a special zoom time with Pete Johnson, who leads Rancho El Camino with his wife Emily. Here is their most recent update.
Thank you! We have been blessed by your sacrificial giving during this time, and we have been blessed by people here on the ground who are willing to give up entire days to go shopping, pack bags, and then distribute food in the neighbourhoods where the Ranch works. In these areas, we have witnessed neighbours helping one another and sacrificing so that someone else can eat. We are humbled, and we are grateful.
One of the blessings to come from the process of identifying who to help is that we are gathering some really interesting data in the four neighbourhoods where we work. For example, we are asking people what their jobs were before the virus, and the answers to this question will inform the future work we do in community development. The people we serve work cleaning homes, organizing trash at the city dump, laying blocks, selling homemade goods door to door, cooking for schools or other organizations, or washing windshields at stoplights, to name a few of the common jobs. We are also able to answer each individual asking for assistance with a personal message, which we pray brings hope in the knowledge that even if we cannot help immediately, someone cares.
The communities where we work are vulnerable and virtually all have lost their jobs in this time; the people are day labourers and enough time has passed without work now that many have no food in their homes. Many people have run out of cooking gas and are collecting firewood in the desert to cook over. Water is always a concern as well. City transportation has largely stopped running in these areas, and as there are no grocery stores in these areas, much less any extra money, these communities are entirely dependent on groups like the Ranch for help.
The need continues to grow and our list of people grows daily as people hear of the work we are doing; also, it seems other groups including the government are slow to respond. We have distributed roughly 400 food baskets already, and even still, at times we have to turn people away as we simply do not have the capacity to serve the entire area at once. It is heartbreaking to let someone know we cannot help or that they will have to wait for food...the emotional burden is heavy right now.
Over the past couple of days, more than 150 people have written Emily to be added to the Ranch's list. We are diligently working through our local contacts to verify who is in need and most vulnerable right now, while at the same time serving as many as we can. Each bag of food also contains a letter from the Ranch explaining who we are, what we do on a normal basis, and an invitation to our regular programs once life returns to normal. We pray that many seeds for ministry are being planted at this time.
If you are able, you can help us continue to provide food for these communities by donating to the Ranch. Each bag we hand out contains about $15 worth of food, and depending on the household size, it helps families survive about one week. We are also beginning to provide diapers for those with babies, as well as personal hygiene products on a need-by-need basis.
Donate to the Ranch here.
Again, THANK YOU for your generosity at this time. We truly cannot do what we do without your help! We feel God’s people surrounding the work here in all sorts of ways, and it is truly a blessing to feel your support as we all continue to care for the most vulnerable around us.