The Yo-Encuentro Charity Shop in Los Belones opened in November 2017 and has grown steadily since that time. It ‘upcycles’ the high quality donated goods, especially those from LMC, keeps its operating costs to a minimum and has given away to needy causes over €30,000. Thanks to fantastic local support.
Our concept has always been “out of our plenty we can bless others”.
For those of us who live on The Club we are in the top 5% of the richest people in the world and it is recognised that LMC residents and businesses are generous in so many ways with events linked to various charities month on month.
At Yo-Encuentro we try and concentrate our donated funds on smaller charities that find fund raising difficult but we regularly support Buen Samaritano and emergencies like the floods of previous years.
We (Bob and Mary Barham) have spent many months living and working in Kenya slums and orphanages and have seen first hand the never ending poverty and the lack of healthcare and governmental basic support. Impossible to change a country but there are those we can help.
Through shop funds and private individual donations we employ a social worker to manage and care for the children and families we support. His monthly salary is €95.
Without uniform the children cannot attend school and many parents cannot afford the termly fees for books and writing materials €40. When you come to High School ages 13+ the fees are much higher as most schools are residential, €350+ per term.
At present we have over 12 children at different stages of education, 3 of which are cared for by grandmother who we help with the payment of rent. We are also funding 2 young people in university one doing accounting and business studies, the other doing his final year in Bio-Chemistry. Costs per university student range from €3500/€4500 per year.
In Nakuru, Kenya the problems with children and young people living on the streets has not changed in all the years we have been visiting. At one stage over 2000 existed surviving on handouts and sniffing glue. All the police do is round them up and drive them out 2 hours away and drop them off!
To that end along with Salt Church Los Alcazares (www.la.saltchurch.es) we have started supporting a youth worker – Robert - and we have enabled him to set up Government approved Voluntary Foundation – “Touch Life”. Through him in addition to working groups of boys we are supporting at least 10 single mothers and babies. Providing shelter, blankets, nappies, sanitary towels, soap, masks etc. He visits their hangouts helping where possible, giving advice and protection and ensures the single mothers and babies get the healthcare needed.
As stated before, we cannot change the country but we can change lives for many individuals at a small cost.
The other charities we support on a regular basis are more local and include animal charities - food for La Manga Cats, blankets and towels and donations for the dogs.
The existing pandemic has had big effect on local people’s living conditions and we saw a need to start a small food bank. Collection of food items started at the shop and other individuals and organisations have joined in and where needed food items are purchased locally. Regular food parcels are made up and delivered and this service steadily grows month by month. If reading this you know of people in need please let us know.
THE BIG QUESTION – WHAT DO WE INTEND TO DO WITH FUNDS RAISED IN DECEMBER ?
Robert our Youth Worker wants to throw a Christmas Meal and Party for 200+ street people on December 26th. No small task. He has already developed a budget, got plans and volunteers in place. We helped him last year do a much smaller event which started the “Touch Life” foundation idea. He plans to purchase and wrap a Christmas Gift for each person as well. The budget for each person attending is €4.
For the other children we support on Christmas Day we try to give them a swim, a meal and some new clothes. The budget for this is €15 for each child.
20% of the total will go to Buen Samaritano to help with their Christmas Food Parcels along with winter clothing we have been collecting for the homeless and poor they care for.
The families and individuals we supply with food parcels will get a bumper food package and presents they were not expecting.
An emergency fund for any last minute requests we might get to change Christmas for the better for where needed.