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BVB Newsletter August 2019

BVB Food Costs Increase


Over the past fifteen years the local cost of living has risen dramatically, especially housing and food costs. In the past five years, under the Price Control Program of the Varela administration, select food items did not see increases, but with the discontinuance of this program some of the non-perishable items that we provide for our clients like pasta, lentil beans and Klim powdered milk will soon be more expensive. For these reasons, BVB needs to increase its annual Coconut Foundation Membership entry level from $360 to $400. This is the first time this annual cost has increased in over a decade. Remember that BVB buys food from local merchants at wholesale prices and always negotiates with our vendors to maintain reasonable prices. You can be confident that because we are strictly a volunteer organization and have no overhead costs, every dollar that you donate goes directly to purchase food for our BVB clients. As always, on their behalf, we thank you for your generosity and willingness to support some of the neediest individuals and families in the area.


Panama’s Environmental Protection Efforts Affect Everyone


The beauty of Panama is not only the rivers, the beaches and the marine life, it’s also the land creatures and the birds, the forests, jungles and plains. The people who treasure these precious natural resources are now moving forward to maintain the country’s beauty and well-being. These little changes can make big differences.

In compliance with the new Panama law, BVB has discontinued packing clients’ food in plastic grocery bags. Now we have decided to pack and transport the food in large durable, reusable bags. Last week we conducted our first food pack with the new bags and the process was seamless. We believe that those clients who pick up their food at the Handicap Center each month will adapt quickly to returning the reusable bags before the next month’s BVB food pack.


Family of the Month Update    Diana’s Family


It’s gratifying to revisit our clients and to see their progress over the years. Many have either moved up to become financially self-sufficient or have simply moved out of the Buenos Vecinos service area. Diana is an example of someone who did both. She recently reached out to BVB to tell us how life has changed for her and her sons, six year-old Angel and eight year-old Bryan.

When they first became Buenos Vecinos recipients in 2015 they were renting a 10 x 12 room from a family who paid her $10 a day to clean their house. Even with a meager monthly contribution from the boys’ father, she was barely able to pay the modest rent and other monthly living expenses. As sometimes happens, concerned neighbors referred her to BVB volunteers who vet our prospective clients, and she was quickly accepted.

However, Diana’s greatest challenge was Angel’s medical condition and accompanying expenses. Born with a severe cleft palate and lip, he had feeding and sleeping problems, frequent ear infections and asthma. He wore a small green palate protection device at home or, when away from home, a tape over his lip to hide the defect from curious stares. At that time, as seen in the photo on the left, four year-old Bryan was learning how to make funny faces and two year-old Angel was already becoming self-conscious around cameras.

In 2016 a doctor at the local medical clinic helped Diana contact Operation Smile, an international medical charity based in Virginia. They provide free surgeries in developing countries for young adults and children requiring maxillofacial reconstruction. After a series of three incremental surgeries and a year and a half of speech therapy, Angel is on his way to a complete recovery. His appearance and health have dramatically improved as you can see in the photo on the right.

Diana and the boys now live in a house that she shares with another single mom. She has a full-time housekeeping job in a nearby hotel. Both boys are doing well in school, although Bryan has needed some help learning to read. Diana is proud that she can now support her family and looks forward to a better future for them all. She has never forgotten how BVB helped her family eat during a difficult time in their lives. She wants our donors to know how grateful she has been for their help.

How to Help

If you would like to help our clients and the efforts of Buenos Vecinos de Boquete, we would appreciate your donation of any size. It’s important for you to know that we are a small all-volunteer force with no administrative or overhead costs. Every dollar of your donation goes to the purchase of food for out clients. When you make that important decision to help feed the less fortunate in our community, you have truly become a “good neighbor”. When you donate $400 a year or a little more than $33 a month, you become a Coconut Foundation Member as an acknowledgment of your concern and generosity. Donate Online: We use PayPal for easy and secure transactions.


If you prefer to donate by cash or local check, please contact Louise Orr panamaleo@gmail.com for arrangements.

Be sure to check out our website and Facebook page:

Thank you!

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