Thanks to our supporters, over 100 children received school supplies as a result of our donation drive! That’s more than twice the number of children we set out to help at the beginning of the drive.
We had a great monthly meeting, livened by the smiling faces of so many children excited to receive their supplies. Even as we started setting up for our monthly meeting, over 30 children had already arrived, hoping to receive help with their yearly school supplies. As the meeting began, we knew that the 60 bags of supplies that we had prepared probably weren’t going to be enough. But the generosity of Cynthia Vargas, owner of PAC Insurance and long time LUPE supporter, came to our aid: Ms Vargas bought an additional 23 bags worth of school supplies and we quickly readied them for distribution at the end of the meeting.
But before the main event, LUPE staff and leaders took the opportunity to educate children and adults alike about the state budget cuts and the implications for our community using a theater piece inspired by the farmworker education group Teatro Campesino and using principles of teatro popular.
Staff and leaders presented the debate between the Democratic and Republican parties in a way that illustrated that, with over 35 billionaires and over 340,000 millionaires residing in Texas, even small cuts to social services on which poor people depend seem ridiculous.
The Texas legislature made cuts amounting to $15 billion in social spending. But taking into account the fact that Texas billionaires are collectively worth $92.8 billion dollars (imagine how much more that figure would be if the more than three hundred thousand millionaires were included?), those cuts make working people feel like they’re forced to carry the weight of the state.
So what are working people in the Valley to do? Educate ourselves, get organized, unite with our fellow working people throughout the state, and hold our elected officials in both parties accountable. Voting and helping get out the vote is an important part of that process, but holding politicians accountable is a year-round duty if we’re going to see more politicians who put up a fight against Republican corporatism and Democrat inertia.
Then the moment the children were waiting for finally arrived. Donor and student supporter Ruben Reyna and Ms Vargas helped prepare the bags for distribution as the one hundred plus students lined up to receive their supplies. Even with Ms Vargas’ additional 23 bags, we weren’t able to give to all of the children present. But Ms. Vargas once again came to our aid and pledged to buy additional supplies for those who were left out.
In total, we were able to give out over 100 bags of supplies. We are extremely grateful for the out-pour of support that we’ve received this past month. It has been truly inspiring to hear the words of encouragement and support coming from across the Valley and around the nation. Our supporters donated money and supplies, shared the donation drive with their families and friends, gave us beautiful words of encouragement and congratulated us on the success of the drive.
This drive garnered support from California to Vermont, from San Juan to Baltimore, because colonia residents have shown their commitment to work for the change they need in their communities. Our supporters have been inspired to care because our members have shown that they care. In turn, our members have been inspired to see all the support they received in this project. Thank you to all of our supporters and donors for helping make this movement stronger.