APRIL 2010

[Girls at Comida]

One day a volunteer on the Comida Project at Love in Action brought out a bag of Cheetos at the end of the noontime meal. Suddenly, little Jose uttered the first word the volunteers had every heard him speak, “Cheeto.” Jose, almost 3 years old but the size of a child half his age, doesn’t speak much because of his malnutrition when he arrived at the Center. Now he is recovering, in part because of the Comida Project which prepares and serves the kids nutritious noon meals including a main dish, bread, veggies and fruit.

The Monday Comida Project crew includes Weezie and Jim Burgess, Marcia and Larry Lavender, Marti and Steve McBride, Rollo Storey, and Jill and John Matthews. They take turns preparing comida, the main meal of the day, and all assist serving over 60 children. Jerry Forman and Paul Brier provide lively music for the kids during the lunches.

A new volunteer to the Project, Johnny Phillips, has had prior experience in operating professional kitchens. He has recently taken on responsibilities for the Thursday Comida at the Center. Johnny also has plans to begin a program to help train some of the older girls at the Center to organize a kitchen, and to prepare and serve this noonday meal. These organizational skills could come in handy in their future lives and careers.

Regular volunteers cook large batches of dishes such as chile con carne, sloppy joes, or other casserole type meals at home and bring them in. Larry Graves each month purchases rotisserie chickens from which thrifty house mothers create several meals. Weezie Burgess and Marti McBride began the Comida Project program over three years ago. They estimate that it costs approximately $100 USD to provide a nutritious lunch for about 60 kids and 15 primarily unpaid staff members each day.

Once there were five volunteer teams to prepare the weekday lunches. Now there are only two. Thus, the Center depends upon staff to prepare lunches the other three weekdays. Depending on funds available, sometimes food sources are scarce. Donations of food come from Walmart, Taiwan Buffet, Panino's, Marisa’s Bakery and others, but these cannot fill all the dietary needs of the Center for three full meals per day.

The Comida Project needs more volunteer help to provide nutritious daily lunches for Jose and all the Center children. Volunteers could assist a number of ways: from taking on comida duties for a day each week to taking on comida for an occasional day with a group of friends. Or volunteers could contribute towards the funding to purchase the food needed for one or more days. The Comida Project contact person is Weezie Burgess at 766-2830 or Call Weezie to see how you can help the Comida Project through contributing funding or time.

If you would like to learn more about the Love In Action Center, visit our website at Guests are welcome to visit the Center in Chapala at Pedro Moreno #76. To schedule a visit call the office between 10 and 2 Monday through Friday at 765-7409.

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