Ecuador Food Fundraiser

Thank you SOOO MUCH for all your donations! We’re so grateful that so many of you have donated to help feed the elderly, disabled and jobless families (and their fur babies) of Olón Ecuador and the nearby comunas during this crisis!

We are now directing you to the Coastal Animal Rescue of Ecuador (CARE) website to make donations to help dogs and cats in this area of Ecuador. They are a registered non-profit so your donation is fully tax deductible and will save 2.2% in payment processing fees so more food goes to animals and less to bank profit margins. They are also scaling down their food deliveries and focusing more on birth control shots and the spay/neuter campaign.

We are still collecting money to help feed the people most in need in the comunas south of Olón. The towns of Cadeate, Libertador Bolivar, Dos Mangas, San Pedro, Valdivia, Sinchal, El Suspiro y San Andrés have been hit much harder due to their lack of expat communities and external support. They need our help now more than ever! Thank you so much for your continued support!

Food Drive Updates

7/3/20 – We shared some video clips from Monika in yesterday’s video showing just how dire the situation is for the elderly in several of the rural comunas in this area. It really is a tale of two worlds here, with Olón and Montañita on one side with their large expat communities, and the comunas without expats on the other.

Many of the elderly in their 80’s and 90’s have no children who are still alive or living in the area to take care of them. They have no running water or electricity and very little support from the government. Here is what Monika has to say about the situation:

“The luckiest elderly people here receive 100$ from ‘seguro campesino’ (only one family member can be registered for it per entire family – 99% – the man and when he passes away the government cuts the payments!!! – thus all the widows who lost their husbands during the pandemic are in a disastrous situation). Some lucky ones get ‘bono solidario’ of 50$ but the current government made big changes to its distribution and deprived many elderly and disabled people of it. Finally, there are cases of people over 65 who don’t get absolutely anything and, like the lady in the video live off begging neighbours for scraps.”

Monika sent us a video of a family yesterday with 10 members living in the household, including the 94 year old grandpa, a 63 year old son who has a herniated disc and is unable to work, his wife who has epilepsy, and 2 of their children who also have epilepsy. The entire family of 10 lives on $250 per month with $50 used to buy adult diapers for the grandpa. That means the remaining $200 must cover all of their living expenses. That’s roughly 66 cents per day per person.

It’s hard to imagine living on just 66 cents per day. This experience has really made us question some of our long held economic beliefs/programming.

6/29/20 – We just transferred $3,492 to Monika who is running the food drive in Montañita. We only have $71 remaining in the Food for People fund as of today. For the past 2 months, Monika and her team of volunteers have been delivering food kits to the comunas of Barcelona, San Antonio, Sinchal, Curía, Valdivia, Libertador Bolívar, San Pedro, Manglaralto, Sitio Nuevo, Cadeate, Pajiza, La Rinconada and Montanita. This distribution was used to buy 612 food kits.

6/15/20 – We walked over to the community garden project in our last video. The progress they’ve made is amazing! There are 35 families who live near the garden who are each tending their own area. There is also another community garden on the north side of Olón that we’ll feature in a future video.

6/5/20 – We raised over $3,300 to feed people and over $500 to feed dogs and cats since we posted our video last night. Thank you all SO MUCH for your continued generosity!

6/4/2020 – We’ll make our last distribution tomorrow, but the need is greater now than when we launched this fundraiser because even people who had savings have used it up after 3 months of no income. If you’re in a financial position to help, the elderly, disabled, orphans, single mothers and jobless families in this area will appreciate it more than you can imagine! Thank you!

5/28/2020 – We met up with the volunteers helping feed the dogs and cats in Olón and nearby comunas in our latest video.

5/15/2020 – Over the past week, the Olón and Montañita volunteers have provided food to the comunas of Olón, Montañita, San Vicente, Cadeate, Manglaralto, Libertador Bolivar, Dos Mangas, San Pedro, Valdivia, Sinchal, El Suspiro y San Andrés. The Coastal Animal Rescue used the funds we raised to purchase a bulk order of dog and cat food from Guayaquil. That food will only last a few weeks and then they’ll need more so we could really use some more donations. If you donate directly to them via their website, we’ll save some payment processing fees leaving more food for animals and less profit for banks.

5/12/2020 – Ariel and the Montañita Volunteers delivered food to Manglaralto and Libertador Bolivar yesterday, while Jenny with Juntos por Olón delivered food to Cadeate. These comunas are far more rustic than Olón so they lack a strong gringo community to help raise funds for food. While the elderly, disabled, unemployed and children of Olón and Montañita still need continued support for food and medication, the smaller comunas have even worse conditions. Thanks to your donations and the funds raised by the volunteers, we’re able to provide at least a little food for a lot of people. We spoke to another person yesterday who is running his own food distribution efforts and he told us that several of the people he visited with food here in Olón had not eaten in several days. The elderly people are especially vulnerable right now. On a positive note, we have not had a death in Olón during the past week. Hopefully we’ve peaked.

5/8/2020 – We met with Jonathan, the Vice-President of Olón, along with Rodolfo and Maria del Carmen at The Sea Garden House today. Rodolfo and Maria del Carmen are also running their own food drive, as are several other people in Olón and the smaller comunas to the north of us. Jenny and Stefano from the Olón volunteers (who we’ve featured in previous videos) have raised over $10,000 to help feed people in this area. Jonathan wanted to meet with us to tell us that this area is sufficiently covered for now and there are other comunas to the south and east in the jungle that need help far more than Olón. He wanted to see if we could help them so we contacted Ariel who is leading the Montañita volunteers and he sent out one of his team members to a couple of the other comunas and they are in desperate need of help. Some of the comunas don’t have running water (city water) so they don’t have any expat communities. That means no one is there to help them who has access to money or donors. We’re going to donate $5,000, which is enough to deliver 100 food packages to 7 different comunas in the next week. That won’t be nearly enough to meet the demand, but it’s a start. That process will give us a better idea of the need in each of those areas so the following week, some may receive more or less.

5/6/2020 – We received the following message this morning from Grace, the President of Comuna Montañita. While she is thanking us, the assistance we’re providing wouldn’t be possible without YOUR generosity! And for that, we’re eternally grateful!

“Thank you very much for the help that you do to the people of my town 😭 I have tears of joy in knowing that we have people like you. God continue blessing you 🙏🏼🙌🏼”

We also helped Comuna Olón purchase some medical supplies, including two oxygen tank refills and masks for the tanks. The tanks were donated by a different fundraiser and were recently used to save 2 lives. The elderly people in this area have been hit very hard by this virus.

5/4/2020 – The Olón volunteers are sporting their new safety suits. All of the volunteers are in the low risk group, but they are delivering mostly to high risk people: the elderly. That’s why it’s so important that they wear protective gear during their deliveries. Thanks to your generosity, they are now delivering more than 80 bags of food, 6 days per week!

5/1/2020 – We visited the community garden here in Olón yesterday and they’ve made a lot of progress in a short time. Most of the underbrush has been cleared and they already have a few things growing, including cucumbers and tomatoes.

4/29/2020 – 19 people have tested positive for COVID-19 here in Olón. The 19 families are under voluntary quarantine so Jenny’s team is providing them with food and medical supplies so they don’t need to leave home. The protective suits for the volunteers arrived today so they’ll be better protected while working on the front lines. Ariel’s team assembled 550 bags of food and supplies to be delivered in Montañita tomorrow.

4/27/2020

4/24/2020 – We had our first “coop” conf call last night with the leaders of the Olón and Montañita food drives (Jenny and Ariel) and came to the realization that we need to raise a minimum of $14,000/month to continue supporting people at our current level, which is only a fraction of the need. That’s just for Olón and Montañita, and the families are only getting 1 food kit every 1 to 2 weeks, which isn’t enough to keep them from starving. Some of the comunas south of here are larger and are suffering even more because there aren’t enough fruit trees growing around those towns to feed people. This is just heartbreaking! We’re now working together to get the best possible price on food so we can help the most people while providing the most nutritious food to help boost immune systems. Once we get the logistics worked out with Olón and Montañita working together, we’re going to start inviting other comunas to join our coop to get better prices and economies of scale. Needless to say, your continued support is very much appreciated!

Meet the Olón Volunteers

Thanks to the amazing team of volunteers, we have a way to use the money we’re raising! They go out each morning, buy food, package it and deliver it to those in need. We are so grateful to have these heroes in our small community!

The Montañita Volunteers

We’ve received so many donations that we’ve started helping the people of Montañita, too! The Montañita volunteers bought, assembled and delivered over 200 packages today!

Olón’s Community Garden Project

Your donations mainly go to feed people now, but some of them will also be used to help grow food for the future. Olón’s community garden project is designed to not only provide food for the long term, but also an additional revenue stream for the community so they aren’t entirely dependent on tourism.

Our Process

100% of the funds we collect to feed people goes to feeding people. Here is our process for keeping track of everything:

1) A donation is made.
2) The donation is logged in an elaborate Excel spreadsheet where we also track distributions, receipts, bank fees, etc..
3) One of the food drive leaders makes a request for funds.
4) We transfer the funds to their account and log the distribution in the spreadsheet.
5) They buy the food, assemble the kits and send me a receipt(s) like the one shown here.
6) I enter the receipt(s) in the spreadsheet to make sure they send me enough receipts to cover the amount distributed. They must provide receipts before I give them another distribution.
7) They deliver the food kits and take pictures of every person who receives a kit.

Since the Coastal Animal Rescue is a registered charity in the US, we transfer the “food for pets” funds to them without requiring receipts. They have used some of the money to buy birth control shots for dogs and cats so they don’t reproduce during the quarantine, requiring more food. They aren’t able to resume their spay/neuter campaign until this is over.

Donations & Distributions

Our goal is to be as transparent as possible with the money you donate. All funds will be used to buy food, medicine and important supplies (like soap and disinfectant) for the people of Olón Ecuador and nearby comunas.

Due to the volume of donations, we’re now able to coordinate our efforts with other comunas and combine resources to get the best deal on food, as well as arrange for consistent delivery of fruits and vegetables.

Here is the current status of the donations we’ve received and how they’re being distributed:

Total Donations

Fundraiser Started: April 10, 2020

As of July 29, 2020

# of Contributions: 579

Total Raised: $44,922

Total Raised (after bank fees): $42,959

Food for People: $35,688

Food for Dogs & Cats: $7,271

Bank Payment Processing Fees: $1,963

Distributions

Total: $41,589
Remaining: $1,370

Food for People: $34,332
Remaining: $1,356

Food for Dogs & Cats: $7,257
Remaining: $14

Here is the log of our distributions:

  • Date
  • 4/12/20
  • 4/12/20
  • 4/14/20
  • 4/15/20
  • 4/18/20
  • 4/20/20
  • 4/22/20
  • 4/23/20
  • 4/24/20
  • 4/27/20
  • 4/29/20
  • 5/1/20
  • 5/1/20
  • 5/2/20
  • 5/4/20
  • 5/6/20
  • 5/9/20
  • 5/10/20
  • 5/11/20
  • 5/12/20
  • 5/15/20
  • 5/18/20
  • 5/21/20
  • 5/23/20
  • 5/29/20
  • 6/1/20
  • 6/4/20
  • 6/5/20
  • 6/5/20
  • 6/8/20
  • 6/14/20
  • 6/19/20
  • 6/21/20
  • 6/29/20
  • 7/7/20
  • 7/20/20
  • 7/29/20
  • Recipient
  • Juntos por Olón
  • La Entrada Volunteers
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Comuna Olón
  • Comuna Montañita
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Juntos por Olón
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Coastal Animal Rescue
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Montañita Volunteers
  • Amount
  • $50
  • $100
  • $400
  • $400
  • $400
  • $1,000
  • $500
  • $800
  • $170
  • $800
  • $1,000
  • $2,000
  • $800
  • $800
  • $700
  • $185
  • $1,000
  • $814
  • $814
  • $1,699
  • $1,800
  • $1,000
  • $800
  • $2,220
  • $2,260
  • $485
  • $2,260
  • $1,500
  • $1,011
  • $565
  • $2,825
  • $662
  • $2,825
  • $3,492
  • $2,500
  • $500
  • $452