El Comedor - Mexico

 

El Comedor means dining room in Spanish (Soup kitchen)

Our first visit to Chihuahua was our introduction to Pastor Jorge (George) and his wife Ana Maria. Pastor Jorge was fortunate to of been a railway conductor for 30 years. This provide for himself and his family, a middle class life style. Middle class makes up a very small portion of the population in Mexico. The majority of people live in poverty in the city of Chihuahua. Upon his retirement, Jorge became a Pastor. With Ana as the head cook they started a soup kitchen. This provided meals for under privileged children who would not have access to any type of substantial food.

 

Pastor Jorge & Ana

The outskirts of the city is home to many people who live in makeshift shacks. We saw shelters put together with mattresses, scraps of tin, blankets and cardboard. There are few employment opportunities in the area. The children are not getting enough food to eat due to the lack of income. Even with these day to day issues the people are very loving and family life is the corner stone of their society.

'Houses' in the outskirts of Chihuhua city

 

The existing soup kitchen was eye opening. It was a 650 square foot house. When Pastor Jorge and Ana first started feeding the children it started out with only 25 children. The number slowly grew until over 100 children were being fed. The original soup kitchen was about the size of a garage here in Canada so it’s life span had come and gone but it still served its purpose at this time. Children walked from as far away as 1 mile to site gobble down the only hearty meal they would get that day. With limited space the children had to eat in shifts. With the large number of children being feed and the limited space at the kitchen, made it difficult to get from school, eat, and get back to school before classes started again.

Original soup kitchen

We were able to work alongside the people we were directly there to help. It was a learning curve for all of us. The smiles on the children’s faces were priceless. The affection they showed towards us was refreshing. The knowledge that this was the only meal they would get today was unsettling. But it was a start to a lifelong change for us. The impact it had on Teresa and I was only one part of this experience. To this day we talk about El Comedor with our children and they to show the change this trip has made on their lives.



The new El Comedor provides easier access for the children. It is ¾ of a mile closer to the school than the existing soup kitchen was. It also can seat approximately 180 children with ease at one time. The new kitchen is equipped with a custom made stove which accommodates several 22”pots at one time. This is more effective for both costs and time for the volunteers.

El Comedor is used 5 days a week to feed approximately 125 children lunch. During the week El Comedor is also utilized for a ladies group meeting, a Saturday morning breakfast for seniors, children’s Saturday school, as well as weekly evening and Sunday morning church services.



DavTee continues to support El Comedor monthly. If this is a project that you would like to help with please contact us.