We are writing to tell you about efforts being made to help Costa Rican families who have been thrown into poverty during this time and importantly how you could help improve their situation.
COVID-19 has swept across the globe (184 countries at the time of writing) as I am sure you are aware. The Costa Rican government has been fantastic in trying to prevent the spread of the virus. They closed the borders earlier than other countries, restricted travel and the purchase of certain items and has closed all beaches and national parks in a bid to ensure the country stays as safe as possible in this terribly difficult time. This has of course led to a huge spike in unemployment as the tourism sector has halted dramatically. According to Government estimates, 200,000 job contracts have been suspended in the last weeks, mostly in the tourism sector. Due to continued closed borders and social distancing, this number is expected to continue to increase in the near term.
The majority of those affected will have been the locals in the background of your last trip, an extensive amount of the employees have had their pay cut completely and now find themselves in dire straits. The maids, the taxi drivers, the kitchen workers, the bartenders, the guys selling coconuts on the beach, the tour guides, the shuttle drivers, the cleaners, the receptionists, the chefs, the surf instructors, the fishermen, the produce growers, the delivery men, etc. no longer know where their next meal is coming from.
Here is the good news. As you have seen, Tamarindo and the surrounding areas have the most amazing communities. Listed below are just some of the organisations I was able to contact. Some have been working tirelessly for years and have now changed their direction to meet the new challenges we face. Some have popped up in the last few weeks in response to the urgency of the situation. ALL, however, are ensuring that the local families here have food, water, clothes and the peace of mind that the community is here to help them.
Here are some of those organisations helping these families along with a brief description of what they do and how they help along with how YOU can help these people via donations and volunteer work.
LIST OF ASSOCIATIONS CURRENTLY HELPING THE LOCALS GOING THROUGH THIS TOUGH TIMES
Here are the organisations helping these families along with a brief description of what they do and how they help along with how YOU can help these people via donations and volunteer work.
Greater Tamarindo Area Food Bank ~ Potrero to Avellanas and inland www.facebook.com/groups/tamarindofoodbank GoFundMe Fundraising Campaign
Contact: Ben Desjardins
In barely two weeks’ time, the GREATER TAMARINDO FOOD BANK (GTFB) initiative, founded by Ben Desjardins, has organized volunteers and set up the infrastructure to feed a community that has seen its source of income drop to zero almost instantly when Costa Rica closed its borders to travel as a result of Covid-19. With over 4,200 families already requesting assistance, of which 85% is unemployed, the GTFB started an outdoor kitchen to feed the homeless, joined with local produce vendors to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables for free, and is supplying baskets of nonperishable food and other necessities to struggling families as fast as they can be packed. One of the teams is dedicating volunteer efforts to make CDC-compliant masks from donated fabric. Some of the masks are being donated to the most vulnerable citizens, with the rest being sold to purchase more essential food items. We are partnered with the registered non-profit, Costa Rica Makes Me Happy and Alto Impacto, and are making sure to work hand-in-hand with other agencies to ensure that everyone is served, and there is no duplication of effort. Please help us take care of the greater Tamarindo area — 100% of our workers are volunteers, and 100% of our donations go to the purchase of food at wholesale prices or less.
Contact: Alex Bejarano
Impacto Alto 27 De Abril
Contact: Esteban Ruiz Arias Esteban and his wife cook meals and deliver them to those who can’t get out, in extreme poverty and deliver grocery baskets to families going through hardship. They also donate wheelchairs and walkers and through our alliance with them, they are extending their help to our broader community. They cover the following 27 de Abril communities: Juapote, Los Jobos, Guayabito, La Allianza, Paso Hondo, Cementerio and El Socoyo. They are in the process of establishing drop-off locations to collect food donations in the area of Santa Cruz and 27 de Abril.
CR Juntos ~ Tamarindo & Surrounding Areas
Contact: Benjamin Zeigler
We are in the development stage at this time. We are working on a few long term solutions now that are not yet operational. Coalition of restaurants for “Soup Kitchen” project involving delivery of prepared food to those who struggle making meals, elderly, disabled, sick, homes out of gas/electric etc. We are working on a sustainable delivery system for us and other organizations to continue well after the reopening of the country’s general operations. Coordinate a CRM base hopefully in coordination with the government to identify and verify those in need i.e. those who continue to stay unemployed or in financial hardship. Establish a tracking system to be sure we are not overlapping deliveries or relief efforts.
ADI Tamarindo ~ Tamarindo & Surrounding Areas https://www.facebook.com/ADIPlayaTamarindo/
We are working with other non profit organizations around Tamarindo to support families who will need aid because they are losing jobs relating to tourism. Here in Tamarindo we have 108 hotels, almost 100 restaurants and everything is closed. So we think there could be more than 4000 families who will need help.
Banco de Alimentos ~ Playa Brasilito/Huacas
Donations: Bank: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Address: Avenidas 1 y 3, Calle 4 San José Costa Rica Account Holder Name: Asociación ABACOR Account Number: 15108420020099594 IBAN: CR86015108420020099594 SWIFT/BIC: BNCRCRSJ Currency: Dólares ($)
The Food Bank is a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against hunger, malnutrition, and waste in Costa Rica. We support more than 40 thousand people in Costa Rica, thanks to the donation of food, basic necessities and money, carried out by allied companies, and the joint work with more than 240 social and community organizations in 55 cantons of the country. We have a headquarters in Pavas, San José and another one in Huacas de Santa Cruz, which allows us to support approximately 50 organizations in Guanacaste and approximately 4000 people. During this health situation, we have increased our hygiene and cleaning measures, so that our partner organizations, and therefore, our direct beneficiaries continue to receive their donations regularly. However, on a daily basis, we receive dozens of messages from people and organizations that need support, so we need help to be able to support these populations. You can follow our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BDACostaRica to learn more about the Food Bank of Costa Rica.
Cepia ~ Huacas & Surrounding Communities www.facebook.com/cepiacostarica1
Contact: Bryan Nunez
At this time we are preparing to distribute 500 boxes of food during this week and the next for people who became unemployed. We also continue to provide food and hygiene products to 88 minors in our care center and send jobs to families to do with their children.
Connectando Corazones ~ Santa Rosa
Contact: Alexus Barnes Chavez
Right now we are helping 50 families in Santa Rosa who already live day to day, but with the crisis taking place, they literally do not have any way to put food on the table. It’s a very serious situation. We are relying on the donations to continue to be able to support these 50 identified families. They receive a full package of food staples, hygiene supplies and food for their animals. We also keep supplies in our community center for families who are not on the list but need extra support.
Futuro Brillante ~ Matapalo & Surrounding Communities https://www.facebook.com/futurobrillantecr
Contact: Lindsay Loasso
Futuro Brillante is a registered nonprofit organization based in Matapalo that is currently supporting nine local communities (population of about 7,000) during the COVID 19 crisis. We have identified 65 families in critical need and will be providing them with emergency food assistance for at least two months. We are seeking funding to be able to support additional families, as we have nearly 200 families on our current wait list. We also are working on setting up agriculture infrastructure for long term food production solutions. We have an on staff agronomer that is managing two community gardens and 200 egg laying hens. We are also proud members of the alliance Juntos por Guanacaste which is a partnership of local nonprofits and businesses that is working together during the crisis. Food distribution is weekly for families who have been pre approved for the program. There is currently a waiting list. Geographic area is: Puerto Viejo, Playa Real, Matapalo, Playa Grande, Salinitas, Lomas, Lajas, La Garita Vieja, Los Mangos.
Asociacion Pro-Mejoras de Playa Flamingo
Contact: Jean-Luc Taulere / Alaks Thompson
Donations: https://costaricamakesmehappy.org/pages/food-bank or see below for bank details.
Asociacion Pro Mejoras de Flamingo along with Costa Rica Makes Me Happy has been able to successfully provide food and basic supplies to over 250 families that have lost their jobs due to the current crisis. and are in need. We are committed to supporting employees of the Flamingo, Potrero and Brasilito businesses hit the hardest. Food and supply donations can be made locally at Super Massai, Flamingo and Super MerKdo, Surfside. The boxes include food staples and cleaning supplies for families of 2-3 persons or 3-5 persons. They are purchased with discounts, packed and delivered strictly by volunteers. Donations are tax deductible. All donations are greatly appreciated and desperately needed. Our goal is to be able to help 300 families each month. Local donations can be made through Banco Nacional de Costa Rica – Savings Account ($) 200-02-193-000923-9 IBAN: CR75015119320020009231 Account Name: “Asociación para la prosperidad y el progreso de las comunidades costarricenses” Cedula Juridica : 3-002-694894 If you would like a tax deductible receipt send your donation information to [email protected] Donations in the United States can be made through Wells Fargo NA, Account Name:Makes Me Happy, Inc. Account Number 567 Makes Me Happy, Inc. Account Number : 5676381618
Nosara Food bank https://www.facebook.com/NosaraFoodBank/
Collaborators from all the local neighborhood development associations from Barco Quebrado to Ostional in conjunction with the Nosara Food Bank are in the middle of the first wave of deliveries of food packages to families who have lost income due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown. As of the day’s end Wednesday, April 8, the Nosara Food Bank will have distributed door-to-door (to avoid public gatherings) approximately 1,000 packages. In Nosara the COVID-19 Emergency Fund team is comprised of the Nosara Food Bank (in operation since 2013) and approximately 16 presidents of the local neighborhood Development Associations, a physician and members of the Nosara Civic Association. Our call center has accepted over 1000 calls for assistance, screening and logging the info to create delivery lists for the individual neighborhoods. Vehicles loaded with food have been going out every day since Friday, April 3. The initial phase of this assistance program is for three months, April, May and June. We will re-assess in June and determine if we need to continue for another three months through September of 2020. Please share our information with anyone who may be able to help us achieve our fundraising goal. Thank you for your support and we will keep you updated on our progress.
Lola’s ~ Playa Avellanas https://www.facebook.com/playaavellana/
Contact: Christi Bettinsoil
Lola’s has closed our kitchen for business and have been serving the community in need for 16 days. We have served over 150 families over 3,500 meals and have reached a daily total of around 250 lunches at about a cost of $1.25/lunch. We also sent out food baskets with all the essentials a family would need for Semana Santa to our staff and families in need. We will continue these efforts for as long as necessary. We welcome any donations or ideas to help our community and get us through this crisis. Donations can also be sent to our bank too, we have accounts in Costa Rica and New York. Please send us a quick note if you want to use the bank accounts so we can confirm that we receive it.
Las Playas Food Bank ~ Tamarindo & Surrounding Areas https://www.facebook.com/LasPlayasFoodBank
Contact: Valerie Eschuk Donations: https://lasplayasfoodbank.com/#donation
We have been distributing food bags to local families in the region over the past three years. Our ministry has now grown to serving 200 local families.
Abriendo Mientes ~ Playa Brasilito/Potrero https://www.facebook.com/Abriendomentes
Contact; Karen Cerdas
We are part of the initiative with Juntos for Guanacaste. We are working to get a donate option soon, it will be through Guanacaste Community Fund.