The immediate call to action by PEACE Punta de Mita in early March 2020 has resulted in food sustenance being delivered to people months before the deadly virus arrived to Punta de Mita. Although people were not becoming sick then, the closure of schools and businesses created a sense of panic for people who live, week to week, on sparse incomes. The onslaught of this crisis provided very little time to devise and execute a plan that included, aside from a detailed census and recipient identification, the determination of a food source, a fund-raising marketing campaign and implementation of a massive logistical effort within days - thus the HRA was launched by PEACE and its partner, the Fundación DINE Punta Mita. This team of first responders was able to establish a long-lasting routine early on, a welcomed blessing during a time of uncertainty.
As November comes to a close, the HRA has delivered nearly 20,000 weekly bags, very large bags, of groceries fulfilled by La Comer Bucerias and distributed with the help of the National Guard to feed those in need. What commenced with 200 weekly bags rose to a peak of 830 for months as the first COVID cases were verified, before returning to its starting level now. The HRA expects to sustain the current distribution through February 2021. Creative thinkers, donor money, and an implementation team came together at the right time to make the outreach program a reality.
Concurrent with food sharing PEACE and Punta Mita Hospital began an extensive education program to alert all townspeople to the protocols required to limit the virus spread, and it continues today.
Ron Budacz, PEACE Chair, stated, “Although vaccines are close at hand, more waves of COVID are reoccurring worldwide and well before a cure can be administered to the masses, down to and including our local residents. Punta de Mita is a microcosm of the world; however, the people who live and work here depend on the tourist economy and the influx of visitors to earn a living. Another shutdown would have devastating consequences of unimaginable proportions while our children continue to be deprived of in-person schooling. Residents and visitors alike must adhere to the strict protocols, the “new normal” of hand sanitizing, wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large groups to circumvent the return of massive unemployment to the already impoverished towns. Unlike a well-funded government assistance program for which none exists, the HRA has a definite life expectancy, 33 weeks in the rear-view mirror and 13 more in front of us. Let’s lead by example in protecting one another while supporting local businesses that employ our people. Finally let’s hope and pray the virus history does not repeat itself here in paradise.”