Tijuana Youth Make Lives Better with Food Baskets, Hospital Beds, and Tools

By David Rizo and Rich Reader

Last week we had the blessing of giving out more than 240 food baskets. Our friends, Knights of Columbus, Misión Madre Cabrini, usually come once or twice a month and typically bring toys, dishes, clothes and even furniture. It is great to interact with our friends from the USA because they always have a smile for the people. It does not matter that they do or do not speak Spanish, the language of our lord is universal. With concerns about COVID-19 it is hard for them to make these visits, but they know how needy our community is. This time they decided that just providing food will be more than welcome to these families. The Knights sent enough bulk food items to make 130 food baskets. The Oblate community, as always, helped by giving more, adding another 100 food baskets, blankets, and clothes.

We gathered a crew consisting of student volunteers from our scholarship program to pack the food baskets. They worked hard. It was amazing to watch students who want to be lawyers, teachers, psychologists, engineers, and other professions carrying 100 pound sacks of rice, beans, and sugar, demonstrating love, humility, and compassion for people from our own community.

We do not have this type of hands-on event as often as we used to. We try to be really careful, checking temperatures and using hand sanitizer. We have adapted to the circumstances because times have changed, but the needy and hungry are always there. As we have written before and the volunteers always say, “To be able to help with a smile on our faces is what gives a meaning to our lives”.

“Wherever we work, our mission is especially to those people whose condition cries out for salvation and for the hope which only Jesus Christ can fully bring.” (Oblate Constitution: 5). Click here to see a video of the event. 


Our friends and donors from Maximum Impact recently asked us for a list of people that could use help. We sent them a list, and they agreed to meet many needs. Two of those people are Gerardo and Jorge. Gerardo a triple amputee, who spends his days in bed. His mattress was in  bad condition. After further discussion it was decided that an even better, albeit more expensive solution, would be a hospital bed. We made a 30-mile jaunt to find a good electric bed. The cost was $500. We got it delivered and installed and returned to get this picture of Geraldo. He is happy and he loves it. In addition to being a highly functional bed, he said it also helps him cope with difficult times. For example, his 84-year-old mother is scheduled for surgery next week and he has been worried about the risk of the procedure. He asked that our readers pray for her (Teresa).

Jorge and his wife

Our longtime friend, Jorge Alberto, is a 62-year-old man who has vertigo. He lost his job in construction about 2 years ago due to the vertigo. He and his wife have been selling toys from his house, but that has not been very profitable. Having some experience making cabinets, he recently decided to start making wooden toy furniture, which is creative and well crafted. He makes small chairs and tables for children and barbie doll-sized dressers. His tools were not particularly good, so we included him on the Maximum Impact list for tools. He and his wife are shown here receiving a new pneumatic brad gun, pneumatic stapler, and a 60 tooth saw blade. They expressed heartfelt thanks and promised to pay it forward. With the Day of the Child coming, we hope sales will be good.

Nidya Gamez

Our featured student this week is Nidya Gamez, who is sponsored by Chris Goodman. She is in her first semester and plans to be a lawyer. She is another participant in SEARCH, which is the retreat program used here so successfully to turn young hearts toward God. Since then, she has been helping with the liturgy in the Padre Pio Chapel. She also serves on our migrant committee.