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1,200 books to the Garcia ghetto

Emanuella Christensen

On December 18th 2008, Rescate hosted our annual Christmas celebration for 650 underprivileged children and their families in association with the foundation “Manos que Sanaan” A.C. This event took place in one of the most forgotten ghettos existing in the county of Garcia N.L. Mexico.

The makeshift town was shocking and saddening. The streets were unpaved, the best of houses were built with pieces of wood or used wooden pallets, the roofing was either bits of tin or even pieces of tarp held in place with rope scraps. The majority of the homes did not have indoor running water and none of them had indoor plumbing. There is no drainage system, there is no running water, and water is brought in by trucks. Due to a lack of water, general hygiene is very low. Most children that live there are running around with dirty hands and faces even though their mothers try their best to keep them clean. Most of the children were underdressed for the winter winds and many were barefoot. There are a few homes that have stoves but most have to build a bonfire to cook their food on, this is also used for heating (this time of the year it is very cold, temperatures dropping to near freezing at nights).

Needless to say all the residents suffer in very poor circumstances, and when the news got around that a Christmas party had arrived at their town, they were some of the most appreciative and happy recipients that we have ever encountered in our seven years of hosting these annual events. We are thankful that amongst all this misery God allowed us to bring these dear folks a little bit of joy and a glimmer of hope.

The project began at 11:00 am and finished at 7:30 p.m. In those hours the 70 volunteers were able to accomplish the following:

  • 900 meals were served
  • 850 gifts distributed
  • 1,200 educational story books and activity books were given to the children
  • 250 mothers received care packages of clothes and shoes for their families
  • We were able to entertain the children with a 45 minute Christmas musical performance
  • Over 400 parents had a chance to talk personally with our volunteers to receive prayer and encouragement
  • Each child also had their choice of either balloon figures or face painting.
  • Besides specially sponsored Christmas toys, each child attending the event also received their own personal set of “Grandpa Jake” story books (fully illustrated and in color) sponsored byActivated Ministries. This was a highlight for many as the only books they owned were their basic school books. The kids were thrilled!

One of the little girls was leafing through her new book when she came to the last page where an illustration of Jesus hugging a little child caught her eye. A soft smile spread across her face as she mouthed the words accompanying the page, “Jesus will always keep me safe.” She hugged the book close and smiled up at us not saying a word, but in that smile we saw a little girl who had new comfort and faith to face the challenges of her surroundings and brave the deplorable living conditions that we had only caught a glimpse of.

We would like to give special thanks to Activated Ministries for their generous contribution of not just 1,200 books, but the 1,200 gifts of comfort and inspiration sent in the form of color illustrations and print. These exceptional books give children renewed courage and faith to persevere despite their grim circumstances and it is our hope that each book and story will continue to inspire and lift the spirits of their new little owners, just as it did for the one little girl living in the shanty town of Garcia, N.L.