2013 Christmas Parties

Below is a timeline of the crazy week of work involved in putting the parties for the Volcanes school children.  Without the many volunteers, it could never have been accomplished.  Below is a photo gallery of the fun we had.  Please enjoy.

2013 Christmas Parties

Saturday Dec. 14

Fundraising Goal of C$ 5,250 Surpassed

This year’s goal was up from last year to $ 5,250 in order to buy the 470 children attending the Volcanes Primary school a toy for Christmas.  Luckily a total of $ 5,930 was raised.  I can never thank enough all the people who donated.  We needed every dollar raised.  When we saw our goal being reached, we decided to add even more children to our list.   It permitted us to increase the number of children to 530 by including 60 Volcanes Secondary school children who are part of the VECP program.   Take a look below to see what we accomplished with the other $ 680 raised.

Sunday Dec. 15

Toy Buying Skirts Disaster

On Sunday December 15, we met at the local Sorianna to buy toys for the Christmas parties.  Our volunteers and lots of store staff spent hours selecting the toys needed for the two Volcanes Primary school parties.  We negotiated a good discount and were also able to take advantage of another special 25% sale on toys. 

Of the C$ 5,250 (60,000 pesos) raised to buy toys, we spent all but C$ 21 (241 pesos).  It took almost 18 shopping carts to hold the over 530 toys.  With the help of the store staff, the Toys were crammed into the school van.  But when Art turned the key, major motor problems occurred.  We soon realized that at 4:15 on a Sunday afternoon, we had C$ 5,000 worth of toys needed for the next day’s party in a non-working van in a parking lot 40 minutes away from the school.

But due to our good luck of having tools from the vehicle Don & June drove down from Canada work quickly began trying to figure out what was wrong.  After a while, a little Spanish speaking Mexican man came up and asked if we needed help.  This fellow was so short; he had to stand in a shopping cart to find the problem.  In Spanish, he explained that the broken part could be bought nearby.  Art gave him money and off he went to get it and within a short while, he returned with the new part.  It took him another 2 hours to fix the van. 

It was then we noticed that this fellow had his entire family of seven sitting patiently in his little truck in the hot sun as he toiled away fixing our van and allowing us to get the toys safely if not very late to the school.  Needless to say, Art was generous in paying him and June & I re-doubled his generosity with a donation to his wife and children.  With his help the next day’s party would go on.

It was a very late night for all of the volunteers but at least we got the toys safely to the school.

60,000 Pesos spent
Over 18 Shopping Carts worth of Toys

Van Breaks Down with $ 5,000 worth of Toys Inside

After 3 hours Work, an Mexican Passer-by Saves the Day.

Monday Dec. 16

Morning Christmas Party a huge Success

   Early on next morning on Monday, volunteers from all over Puerto Vallarta traveled to Volcanes for the Christmas party for those children attending the primary school in the morning.  In Mexico, it’s common for school buildings to be used for one group of children in the morning from 8 till 1 and after they leave another group of teachers and children use the building from 2 until 7.  Over 250 children attended this party.

  Many of the children’s mothers had practiced a English Christmas Carol which they sang followed by several Spanish songs from the children.  Each year, the excitement and fun just get so enjoyable to watch.  We all handed out the food and drinks, gave them numbered colored shapes as raffle tickets and then proceeded to pick which colored ticket holders could rush up and get their toy.  The smiles were incredible.

Some of our Volunteers were:
  • Aldorie
  • Chava
  • Don
  • Éloi
  • Jacques
  • Jeannette
  • Jim (photographer)
  • Julien
  • June
  • Megan
  • Monique
  • Paulette
  • Penny
  • Peter
  • Tom

Toys were sorted for the two parties
Volunteers help carry toys to the party.

Our two Morning Party Christmas Cakes

We piled up the toys.
Lots of Juice for the Children
So much to choose from
Picking the Next Lucky Group to get a Toy
In the Sweltering heat, the children still enjoyed the Party

Happy little girl
The Mothers of the Children Sang us a Christmas Carol
One of the Two Christmas Party Bike Winners
Peter and Chava handing out Christmas Lollypops as the children leave the Party 

Wednesday Dec. 18

Extra Money - Volcanes Kindergarten Christmas Party

The extra $ 680 raised in donations allowed us for the first time to hold a Christmas Party for the Volcanes Kindergarten.  This extra money bought the toys as well as the burgers, fries and cake needed.  Without the extra funds, these 120 children would not have had a Christmas party.

The 120 Kinder Children having their First Christmas Party
The Christmas Party Cake
See the joy on his face as well as red juice stains around his lips.
Four happy little girls enjoying their meal.

Having fun trying to break the candy filled Pinata
Another happy little boy

Thursday Dec. 19

Afternoon Christmas Party Almost Cancelled

Just as we were getting ready to hold our last Christmas party, we found out the school van was impounded due to a small traffic accident.  Art let me know very early at 7am that he had no way of getting the 10 volunteers to the party and that Art also couldn't attend as he had to get the van out of the impound as quickly as possible to get it fixed. 

Luckily, our volunteers who were already very tired from a full week of activity agreed to take a local bus for almost 90 minutes each way through some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city to get to and from the school by ourselves.  Every one of the ten volunteers came through and within forty minutes of our arrival at the school, had set up the food tables, transported the toys from the locked classroom and set everything up.

Again, the reaction of the children made us realize that this last party was also a great success.

Some of our Volunteers were:

  • Ginette
  • Irma
  • Jacques
  • Jeannette
  • Jim  (photographer)
  • Julien
  • Megan
  • Penny
  • Peter
  • Robert
  • Tom
After a long bus ride, we get to the school about 45 minutes before the party
Volunteers hand out Burgers and Fries
The Mothers Watch over the Toys
Happy Children with their Toys
Happy Children with their Toys
The Cakes are readied for the Children
After the party, the Mothers and their Children go Home
The parents continue to feel hope that maybe with the Volcanes Primary School and the work done by the Volcanes Community Education Project,
that their children will someday escape the poverty which surrounds them every day.

Thursday Dec. 19 - Sunset

Very Tired Volunteers Enjoy Sunset & Margaritas

On the trip home from the last party, some of the volunteers who made these parties possible rode the long bus ride home so pleased yet exhausted from the work involved. 

Our almost 90 minute bus ride home from Volcanes

That when a few of us said that even though we all needed showers that we would continue on the bus until the end where we knew a beachfront restaurant had a happy hour.  As we watched the sun set over Banderas Bay, the cold drinks really capped off the successes we had accomplished in the last week.

Eight of us went to have a drink on the beach and watch the sunset after the last party.
After almost 5 months, the work involved in doing these parties is over.

Peter’s Food Fundraising was Over the Top

Also needing to be thanked is Peter Jendrick from PEI who fund-raised many of his friends to make up the money needed for the food at the two Volcanes Primary School Christmas Parties.   In total, over 500 Burger King hamburgers with fries as well as four huge Christmas party cakes.  Each year, the kids love this special treat as their parents can never afford such food.

Thanks again to Peter and his friends.

  • Aurelle Richard   Lot 16  PEI
  • Chava Aggreano    Puerto Vallarta, Mex
  • Cheryl Grant    Moncton  NB
  • Craig Holmes   Palm Springs California
  • Doug Morgan    New Minas  NS
  • Francis Cooke  Blacks Harbour  NB
  • Geoff Warren     Long River  PEI
  • Harold Gallant   Summerside  PEI
  • Jim Tarpley   Palm Springs California
  • Loretta Cameron   Charlottetown PEI
  • June Cooke   Blacks Harbour  NB
  • Peter Jendrick    Summerside PEI. 
  • Sandra Arsenault  Summerside PEI
  • Yvonne Peconi   Summerside PEI

2013 Toy Fundraising Donors

  • Allain & Terry - Victoria, BC
  • Aldorie - Montreal QC
  • Alva & Mike - Memramcook, NB, 
  • Barbra, PV, Mexico
  • Bernard & Ron, Cap Pele, NB
  • Carmelle - Moncton, NB, 
  • Daniel - Memramcook, NB, 
  • Don & Jane - Salmon Arm BC
  • Don & June - Beechy, Sask
  • Emma & Cleophas - Moncton, NB
  • Eric & Aek, Ottawa, ON
  • Eugene - Cap Pele, NB
  • Evelyne & Paul-Emile- Moncton, NB, 
  • Gerald/Blair - Fredericton, NB
  • Gilles - Montreal, PQ, 
  • Ginette & Irma - Caraquet, NB
  • Hervé - Oyster Bed Bridge, PEI
  • Jacques - Ottawa, ON 
  • Jean-Claude & Rudy - Arlington, VA
  • Jean-Paul & Martial, Montreal, PQ
  • Jeannette & Maurice, St. Joseph, NB
  • Jennifer & Mark, London, ON, 
  • Jim, Toronto, ON
  • Joe & Steve - Halifax, NS
  • John & Brenda - Bedeque, PEI
  • Lee & Pauline - Alma, NB, 
  • Lisa, Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan
  • Loretta - Charlottetown, PEI
  • Louis & Donald, Moncton, NB
  • Ken & Gary, Ottawa, ON, 
  • Margaret & Gary, PV, Mexico
  • Monique, Montreal, PQ
  • Myrna & Joan, Medicine Hat, Alberta
  • Paul & Glen, Halifax, NS, 
  • Paulette, Shediac, NB
  • Penny, Germantown, Wisconsin
  • Richard & John, Montrea, QC
  • Rick & Simonne, Moncton, NB, 
  • Robert, Bertrand, NB, 
  • Stella - Memramcook, NB, 
  • Tom - Moncton, NB, 

2013 Corporate Donations

  • Altec Homes Inc.
  • C & H Management
  • D.J. Sullivan Real Estate Services
  • Metropolitan Homes
  • Sira Enterprises Ltd.
  • Stonehaven Builders
  • Seville Property Group
  • Wesco Construction

2013 Special Fundraising of $ 865

  • Patrick & Rob - BC,  
    These two people have done a great fundraising job for the last few years.  They particularly want to thank the following people who helped:
    For Cookie for opening up her House for the third year, so we could have a pool party.
    We'd like to thank Peter’s Pasta in
     (Kamloops BC) for the Great donation and the Best Pasta ever. 
    We'd also like to thank GALA Kamloops, 
    Also (Robs mom ) Una McInnes for donating some Prizes for party and let's not forget my mom Marie Dodwell.  
    And Janine Dubyk, from Saskatchewan Jessie from Kamloops and everyone who come to the pool party with all your help we raised $865.00 in total.

    Thank you all for your support in what was a tremendous effort.  The joy in the hearts of the children of Volcanes was so palpable that we could see it in their eyes and their thanks.  We volunteers are so lucky.  When these small children come up to say “Muchos Gracias” or a very practiced “Thank You”, we feel the joy in their hearts.  Around that school is so much poverty yet these children arrive at school clean and happy.  Yet it was because of so many who had donated and weren’t there that we were being thanked.

     At the gate of the school, the mothers watched as their little girl or boy chose a present they could never have afforded to give them.   When we came to leave the school and walk about ten blocks to the bus stop in one of the poorest parts of the city, we were continually being thanked.  It made us realize how much our long tiring trek to and from the school as well as the time and effort at the school parties had meant to this small community.

    We were the lucky one.  We were being thanked yet we could not have done it without so many of you helping us.   Like in previous years, every penny spent on the parties came from donations.  From the food to the presents, it all came from people who care.

Thanks again for your help and for your support.