Just How Many Charities Do We Have?

Here’s our list, but we might have missed a few
BY: BUNNY WINGATE

The Baja charity bubble is expansive all year but explodes with a mighty bang right around Halloween. The day of the dead in our perfect little village heralds the start of the season of giving and giving and giving. Nowhere else in my looong life have I ever experienced or seen so many charities for people who have little or nothing, animals in need, or organizations that benefit both of the above, as I have come to know in our relatively small area known as Baja Norte.

Friends of the Library needs books to educate our young people and promote reading literacy but young people also need clothing and food  for the Kumai Indians who without the money raised by her various events would not have warm clothing or a holiday meal. Marilyn Widd is sponsoring her special orphanage that has no running water or electricity. But Marilyn’s isn’t the only deserving facility, as others hawk for their orphanages as well. On a recent trip to a Rosarito orphanage I fell in love with beautiful faces of all ages from months old babies to teenagers laughing at a troupe of clowns who tour Baja on a regular basis. All the children were encouraged to join in the festivities, and they did, forgetting for a time that they had less than others. When I arrived home and thought about what I had seen, I thought maybe these children had more. I met loving volunteers giving their time to these kids and they had many brothers and sisters to share their thoughts and dreams. Christmas presents were donated by those who could afford this luxury and continue this every Christmas.

Katharine’s Kids serves disabled children in an orphanage while SOS Children’s Villages is one of the largest orphan charities around the world. It takes a special soul among us with the time and money needed to organize and promote these many orphan charities.

Cruz Roja is our Red Cross and is always in need of money to keep their doors open and their ambulance service going full bore. Primo Tapia has a new second hand store for the Cruz Roja, with local folks volunteering their time to run it. Without money harvested from several charity events all year long, lives might be lost waiting for an ambulance. Our Rosie Pena is the driving force behind this oldest of Baja charities.

A non profit usually helps by providing education, nourishment, shelter, or medical services to needy people around the world. None are more needed than our Flying Samaritans who are actually a global charity. Here in Baja they provide free medical services to so many folks that would otherwise go without. They too have special holiday parties and events.

The Boys and Girls Club needs volunteers and the Baja Scholarship Fund could always use a benefactor. The Baja Blues Fest is a huge happening every August at the Rosarito Beach Hotel to benefit several  needy children’s charities but also asks for money during the holiday season. I can’t forget DIF, the family oriented charity traditionally lead by the mayor’s wife. There is also the good works of  FROA, a foreign residents club.

Those are just some of the people charities that come to mind, as we move on to the critter oriented charities that are very important to Baja life. When once we had many packs of wild dogs roaming our streets, we now have Baja Spay and Neuter headed by Robin Gunther who has dedicated her life to this charity. It’s a family affair with Rod, Jen and Adam heavily involved in the monthly spay and neuter clinics held all over Baja. Money is needed for the docs who work for very little and for supplies. The Baja Animal Sanctuary is our only no kill shelter in Northern Mexico started and still run by Sunny Benedict and her fantastic staff and volunteers. Food is always needed to feed the many animals in her care. No one is ever turned away.

Our larger four legged friends live at All The Pretty horses where hay and feed as well as excellent care is given with the help of patrons like Robin Mackenzie the owner of Black Cross Winery. The winery sits on Pretty Horses property where money received from several events held throughout the year is donated to this worthy charity. Pretty Horses has saved many a starving and abused horse from being put down. We have other spay and neuter charities like Baja Exiles and many more too.

We all have our favorite causes, but still wish we could respond to the deluge of invitations from so many more. Unfortunately, most of us can not afford to be as generous as we would like to be. Maybe we should think about splitting up our donated clothes to give to some and saving a bit from our food money or buying less for our family that have so much so our Mexican neighbors can enjoy a bountiful Christmas. However you parcel out what you have, it’s a job well done. Visit an orphanage at Christmas and watch the faces light up when finding their own Barbie doll or Hot Wheel set of cars. It’s a feeling you won’t forget and your Christmas is bound to be a little  merrier and meaningful.