Las Malvinas is Going Back to School 2019!
August is definitely one of the most exciting months at Esperanza because of our ‘Las Malvinas Goes Back to School!’ Campaign. We’re given a unique opportunity to impact directly dozens of families that are struggling to send their kids to school and supporting them with the supplies and cash so children can start school on time and with everything they need.
This is our 4th year doing the campaign and it’s been a whirlwind. The prices of many supplies, especially shoes, spiked this year (I have no solid idea as to why) and became a huge headache for families as the school stating date approached. Kids always need new shoes – they grow out of the old ones, and they’re literally destroyed after a year of full use, so they’re rarely passed on to younger siblings. School uniforms also were an issue. New shirts and skirts were rolled out by the school system and are not as easy to find as the past designs, so those prices were naturally higher. Finally, the little school in Las Malvinas, trying to accommodate the ever-growing number of younger kids, bumped 7th and 8th graders out of the building and told them to find a new school. That meant a last-minute scramble for the parents to find a new place for their older kids to study, and these new schools often required the students use a unique uniform that was way more costly than the traditional one.
Despite these challenges, we had the biggest season yet with 55 school boxes delivered. This cash has allowed us to purchase shoes, backpacks, uniforms and give some parents cash relief so their kids can start school on time. Our amazing customers stepped up! This generosity is met by the groundwork done by our soapmakers – they go out of their way to visit the families, keep tabs on needs and purchase critical supplies to get the kids off to school. So far they’ve made about a dozen trips shopping trips and spent hours upon hours going house to house and keeping track of the kids we committed to help.
I’m incredibly humbled to be a part of all this work and be in the midst of it all – feeling the generosity and support of our customers, talking incessantly with our soapmakers on the ground as they coordinate everything, getting calls from mothers saying either they still need help or that we saved the day for them. The extremely personal nature of this campaign – the fact that we are in Las Malvinas 24/7; that we know all the families and can make just the right contribution to get them started, makes it have a much larger impact if instead we made bulk purchases and randomly distributed it all. On a higher level, I love what it does: people thousands of miles apart, giving what they have, work together to send children to school, where kids should be. This a good thing, and I’m grateful for it all.
As I always say, it’s insane to me - and always will be - that a child in the world today, with all our marvels of wealth and technology and abundance, still runs the risk of not going to school because they can’t get shoes, a cheap pair of black shoes. And this, of no fault of his own - the child was simply born ‘in the wrong place’. This campaign allows us to step into this reality and make good, even if it seems small at times, it means the world to a child.
The urge to be present, to be giving, to be loving, to live out these desires for justice and joy, to serve and walk in the steps of our Good Lord is what Esperanza was founded on and every August we see the burst of activity with the kids and our customers and we’re happy to be here and still kicking.
Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE!!