Hello and a Happy New Year from Phoenix Group in Panamá!! I would like to wish each of you and your families a special Blessing during these challenging times. May you and yours stay healthy and safe from Covid and any emotional and economic sufferings.
This year was another of Covid and its restrictions, which resulted in again cancelling our large annual “Three Kings Day” parties at the Salvation Army’s Girls orphanage in Colón and several small churches in remote areas of the Province. However, to still reach out to struggling families, prior to Christmas we delivered large bags of food and gifts to 10 families in the Province of Colón. And, for “Three Kings Day,” on 6 and 7 January we delivered large bags of food and gifts to 7 families in the area of Buena Vista, Colón, (plus the kids that just showed up!) and also to 7 families in the area of Veracruz, Panamá (northwest of the Panamá Canal). As always, the smiles – and some tears of joy -- of the kids really warm the heart and reinforce the importance of this support effort. For the majority of kids, it is the only gift they receive for the Holidays. Even through the face masks, the excitement and happiness joy could be seen!!! Since the families were advised in advance of our planned arrival, the kids were waiting (somewhat patiently) and some all dressed up.
As always each year, our wonderful staff in Panamá and Colón do a great job with identifying needy families, selection and wrapping of gifts, purchasing food, coordinating logistics, and making the visits a happy and memorable event for the kids.
Fortunately, earlier, on Thanksgiving, we were able to celebrate our annual Thanksgiving Day lunch at the Salvation Army’s Hogar Jackson for abandoned elderly. These elderly residents are always very appreciative for our staff to just visit and talk with them.
In Venezuela, Adriana Flores continues to direct our monthly food and clothing support programs at a Christian facility for Disabled Elderly and also a school which supports street kids in Caracas. Adriana and her small group of volunteers are making a huge positive difference in the lives of these almost forgotten elderly and kids. Prior to Christmas, Adriana organized the delivery of food bags to needy families at the school in Caracas and food and personal hygiene and care items to the elderly. A big thank you and hug for Adriana and her team of volunteers – each a hero.