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Back in Ecuador!

We have been back in Ecuador for almost 2 weeks now and we are so happy to be here. Looking back on 2020 we continue to feel overwhelmed with gratitude for your support, and we have exciting plans for the upcoming year. Here is a quick update on what’s going on at the Mission.

The Mission School continues with virtual learning as mandated by the government in response to COVID-19. It is challenging, especially for all our families that do not have access to internet, but the school is doing everything it can to accommodate all students. 

The Mission Home has welcomed over 15 new children since the pandemic began. They are adjusting well and it is incredible to see the transformative effects of the love and care they receive here. The kids are divided into small groups to complete their school work each morning, and the tutors we hired provide supplemental education. Many of the children at the Mission Home are thriving with the smaller ‘class’ sizes, and are able to bridge some of their educational gaps better than they otherwise would be. So there’s one positive to virtual learning! 

Our University students are doing well while most of their classes continue online. We have one student preparing to graduate in April!

On a personal note, our 5 month old daughter, Regan, is loving Ecuador! We are in the midst of summer so it is very hot and humid, and a drought has forced water rationing so we have no running water after 2pm. It is certainly a new (and at times challenging) adventure with Regan here, but the missionary sisters and the kids at the home already love her so well.

Thank you for being on this journey with us!

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Christina’s Story – A Message of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

Christina gives thanks and shares her story about how Mission Santa Maria is changing her life though education.

 

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Watch our Virtual Event!

Hear how we are changing lives of children in Ecuador.

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A New Video for You

Thank you to everyone that was able to join us at our virtual event last night! We are so grateful for your support and ongoing generosity. If you were not able to make it, here is a short video that we shared last night:

 

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Join us for our virtual event!

Please join us on Wednesday, November 18th, from 8:00-8:45PM Eastern Time, for a virtual toast to Mission Santa Maria and its supporters! We would usually be hosting our New York City event at this time of year, but since we cannot gather in person we hope you will be able to support us with your virtual participation. Please register for the event by clicking here.

Looking forward to seeing you!

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School changes, a new baby, and more!

In Ecuador, children “went back” to school in June (they typically start in April). The Ministry of Education has mandated that the school give classes virtually due to Covid. Many families in our school do not have internet or computers so it has been very difficult for our students to connect to their classes but they are making it work, borrowing cell phones or sharing a computer with other families. The teachers are printing work packets for those who have no internet access.

The children’s home has adapted quite well. The tutors we hired last year for some of the children are now helping all the children with their school assignments and even have a few hours of classes.  So, our children are getting the best education in the school at the moment!

We recently added a new member to the Mission Santa Maria family! Our baby girl was born a month early and we are very grateful we were in the U.S. during this time since she had to spend a few extra days in the hospital. Grace and baby Regan are doing very well now.

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A Million Meals

Between March and July, we gave out about 1 million meals to families in the surrounding towns. This herculean effort by our fairly small charity was made possible only by the incredible outpouring of generosity of our donors (including many new ones) and the local community who volunteered to put in the hours of daily work to distribute food (pictured above).

We are incredibly proud to have been part of this crisis response. As donations poured in, we were humbled by the generosity of our donors, and it enabled us to reach more and more families. On behalf of thousands of families here, thank you!

In so many ways, this has been a very difficult time for us. It is devastating to see such widespread suffering. People are so grateful for helping them feed their families. The reaction of most people is immense gratitude and joy for the help we bring (which we pass along to you). The few people who receive our help with tears often thank us profusely. The people here are extremely resilient, strong, and kind. We are left with a deepening admiration for our families here.

During the past few months, the Mission Home drew on the Emergency Food Fund twice. We created this Fund last year and it has been getting good use. The children have been very well fed! The women have been busy with trying to adapt to the online classes that the children are taking. The tutors that we hired last year for the children that were not able to be in school are now leading all the children at the home in their daily online classes. Trying to keep 80 children engaged in online learning is no small feat and we are incredibly impressed with our tutors.

Ecuador is slowly reopening their economy, but restaurants, bars and beaches are still closed, which employs a significant amount of people in our towns. Although some people have been able to return to work, many people are left without any income. We expect our area like most of Ecuador to enter into an economic depression. The World Bank estimates that Latin America as a whole will lose 20 years of progress in poverty reduction as a result of this crisis.

The situation has led us to examine our mission and vision here in Ecuador. We believe more than ever that educating children will improve their lives and the lives of the community around them.

 

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Our Food Drive Continues!

Click Here to Donate to the Coronavirus Food Drive
Mission Santa Maria is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, all donations are tax deductible.


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Faces of Our Food Drive

Click Here to Donate to the Coronavirus Food Drive
Mission Santa Maria is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, all donations are tax deductible.


This week marks the twelfth week of our coronavirus food drive. Last week we were able to feed 2,700 families in 28 towns in our state. Thank you for your ongoing generosity to make this project possible!

Sara’s family is one of the families receiving food each week. Sara is a single mother to her daughter, Oana, and her son, David. Sara usually works as a primary school teacher but has not received a salary since the beginning of March. While she has been without work, she has given her time to helping coordinate the food distribution process in her town. Every week when we arrive, Sara and her children are there having already prepared the families to receive their food. She is one of many town leaders that help make our food drive possible.

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A Plea for Help

Click Here to Donate to the Coronavirus Food Drive
Mission Santa Maria is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, all donations are tax deductible.


Next week our food drive funds will run out. We are making one last plea for help, aiming to raise $120,000 to continue feeding 2,500 Ecuadorian families for the next 4-8 weeks. You can join our GoFundMe campaign here to share this story and help these families in need!

 

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