Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our first benefit dinner (pizza) in California

I arrived here on Tuesday, and the weather this week in Southern California has been beautiful.  Not a drop of rain, which is unfortunate, as this continues the multiple-year drought.  I believe they wrote a song about this...

Now on to the fundraiser news!

We had been preparing for the event for the previous months.  My sister Crystal, also a project director, had been organizing and telling people about the event.  We also were required to register the project in California as a charity.  After sending in the applications and fees to the California Attorney General and Secretary of State, we were good to go!

Display for handcrafts and informational flyers
My sisters, father, and Joan all helped to prepare the house for the festivities.  A large flat-screen TV was ready for the slideshow presentation.  The pizza was freshly made from a local restaurant called Pizzamania.  Chairs and tables awaited.  Friends and family started arriving to my family's house in Long Beach a little after 5 pm.  Our total crowd numbered around 40.

Cousins and aunts

After settling in, visiting and having some pizza, salad, and finger-foods, at 6 pm we all gathered in the living room for the presentation.  It lasted about 20 minutes, longer than the planned 10 minutes, but the crowd was attentive, engaged, and eager to ask many questions.  We discussed the early history of the village of La Libertad, why they have many of the problems which they face, and the solutions that we have implemented or for which we are in the planning stages.  Of special interest was the relationship that they have to the illicit drug trade, healthcare concerns (parasites), and cultural differences.  And of course the piranha!

Astor and I giving the presentation
If you would like to see the presentation, I have uploaded it to SlideShare.  Click here to view it!

Small handcrafts made by the villagers were displayed and available to purchase.  People also generously made donations to help support our work.  In all, we raised a little over $1,500, with more pledges on the way.  Thank you to all of our supporters!  And a special thank to Crystal (without whose help this event would not have been possible), Rose, Rudy, and Joan for all their greatly appreciated efforts.

Equally important to the financial support, we made many connection to people and discussed other ways to help the village.  Almost all of our 40 informational brochures were taken.  A few brave souls were even excited about planning a volunteer trip to La Libertad!

If you would like to donate to the cause we have another fundraiser taking place in Rockland, Maine on September 18.  If you can't make this, we accept online donations through our website (please click here to DONATE ONLINE).  Thanks!

We are well on the way to achieve this summer's fundraising goal of $6,000.  Please help us fill in the monkey graph!