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Buenos Vecinos de Boquete August Newsletter

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Family of the Month- Martin’s Family


Martin and Marielena’s family

Three generations of Martin’s family live in this small one-room cement block house. Supplied by his employer at a citrus farm/processor, this structure is home to Martin and his wife Marielena, their seven children, ages two months to twelve years and his father, Martin Sr. 70 years old. Baby Abner was born by C-section and Marielena is still recovering her strength. He was born with a cleft palate and must be bottle-fed with expensive baby formula.

Martin was laid off of work recently when he suffered a serious work-related hand injury. But even when he works his usual 8-hour six-day work week he only brings home $390 a month. He and his father worked all of their lives as farmers in the comarca, but they moved to the area a few years ago so he could earn more money for his family.

Martin and Marielena are good parents; their happy, fun-loving and respectful children are testaments to the loving atmosphere in which they’ve been raised. Martin told us how much this BVB food means to them, and his wife and kids told us even more with their big smiles.

Helping Buenos Vecinos Clients Help Themselves


Examples of a rooted sweet potato slip and some of the harvest they will provide in 3-4 months

Rice and potatoes, Panamanian staples, are rising in price and may soon become unavailable, according to local farmers and producers. Covid-19 food worker restrictions, fertilizer shortages, fragile supply chains and recent road blockages during protests have resulted in wide-spread farm-worker layoffs that will soon result in dramatic drops in food production and harvests.

In response, BVB implemented an experimental program Project Sweet Potato to help their clients begin growing their own food. During this last food distribution a few days ago all clients received rooted sweet potato slips and simple growing instructions. This low-input, high-calorie food will provide a harvest within three to four months. It was chosen as our first growing project because these particular sweet potatoes (camotes in Spanish) have proven locally to be nutritious, easy to grow and propagate, and widely accepted by our consumers.

Project Sweet Potato will soon become Project Food-Starter as we add other slips, seeds and sprouts to our usual monthly non-perishable food provisions. We are grateful to local farmers and gardeners for donating these live plants and for providing vital information about how to select and grow these foods. For those BVB clients who have not already created their own gardens this project may prove to be a valuable endeavor.

Our Energetic BVB Volunteers


Three strong and dedicated volunteers

Gabi Zimantes, Sandy Ullstrup and Debby Pauley move 500 5-lb. bags of rice every month during our food pack. Gabi and Debby are new to our organization and Sandy has been a faithful BVB member for many years. She also serves as a skilled and valued veterinarian for the Amigos de Animales spay and neuter clinic each month. Thank you for your service contributions, ladies. We depend on you!

Bags, Bags, Bags


Price Smart is once more selling their big over-size and sturdy bags that we like to use to deliver food to our clients. We are able to use these month after month. If you are in the area, would you like to purchase some at Price Smart and drop them off at the Handicap Foundation (across from ChopSticks Restaurant) 9 am-3 pm Mon.-Fri Or if you would like to make a donation, simply mark it “Bags” and we will use it to purchase these bags or plant-starter bags for our new Project Food-Starter. Thank you!

Buenos Vecinos de Boquete exists to help people like this, who are unable to meet their basic food needs. We have provided emergency food support on many occasions and have been successful in helping families through hard times. We will help them with food support until the working age adults in the family can find enough income to become self-sustaining. When we brought Eva her first food delivery of non-perishable food she smiled with a look of genuine relief and said, “Now there will be enough food to feed all of the children.”

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If you prefer to donate by cash or local check you can see Louise Orr at the Tuesday Market or contact Trish at buenosvecinos79@gmail.com

Be sure to check out our website and Facebook page:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BuenosVecinosDeBoquete/
Website:  http://www.buenosvecinosdeboquete.com/
 Text  Description automatically generated  As always, we must thank our very valued donors!
  We owe you all a big thank you!  
Thank you!
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