We have planted a tree of hopes, can you spare a cup?
For the price of a cup of coffee, one time, once a week or as often as you wish, you can help grow a tree of hopes. Near the northwest edge of El Paso a tree of hopes in growing in a community in Mexico called Anapra. Tree of Hopes is inspired by the lives of Victor Villalobos and his wife Velia who with the help of their entire family and friends have dedicated their lives to helping people in need.
Every day Victor and his family are helping people who are hungry, in need of clothing, medical aid and oftentimes a place to live. Some live in extremely poor conditions and are able to receive assistance from organizations like Casas Por Cristo. For many years Casa volunteers have traveled to Anapra to build homes for families living in small shacks made out of pieces of wood, pallets, blankets and metal sheets. Volunteers have often slept in the Tree of Hopes church called the Aposento Alto and have their meals at the Comedor nearby. In Spanish “Aposento Alto” means high on a hill and “comedor’ means dining room.
Today the Comedor Aposento Alto is a refugee center for over 50 migrants who have come to the border seeking a better life from terror-stricken regions in Latin America like Honduras and El Salvador.
Two years ago, I was so impressed by everything Victor’s family was doing that I felt God calling me to grow a Tree of Hopes. It’s a very young tree, almost a seedling, but with the help of Rotarians in Juarez and El Paso and people from all walks of life who have helped, Tree of Hopes is making a difference in the lives of people in tremendous need. I can assure you that they are very grateful for every act of kindness and we are giving them hope.
Just to give you some idea of the impact of the Victor’s family’s efforts over the past six months, the Tree of Hopes facility has provided food and shelter for nearly two hundred migrants.
As I write this blog on a late summer evening, the Mexican Government has brought 30 more migrants needing a place to stay. Some who are with children are crying. Most have appointments for asylum hearings and will have to wait months. There is no more room in the dormitory area on this night so many will have to sleep in the church.
Victor is a humble man as is his wife Velia and their two children Grissel and Nestor. The entire family is dedicated to these people volunteering their help seven days a week. They live on donations from people in El Paso who help them buy food, gasoline and pay the bills.
Víctor Villalobos Camarena founded Comedor Aposento Alto in Anapra, a small community in northwestern Juarez. He has not only has helped thousands of people living in this poor area of Juarez with food and clothing, but was also able to convince the City of Juarez to build a very popular community park and soccer field nearby.
My Rotary Club’s foundation accounts for many of the tax-deductible contributions. The need is always great and Tree of Hopes we will continue to raise funds to pay the bills and make further improvements. We hope that you will help in any way you can. For the price of a cup of coffee, one time, once a week or as often as you wish, you can help grow a tree that produces the best fruit anywhere – a fruit called “hope”.