Since living abroad is an experience where you get to know other people with less financial resources than anyone in your home country will have, I think it is very important to give something back to the community once in a while. That is why Rebecca Adventure Travel sponsors the foundation “Local Dreamers” with 1% of our revenue from our direct multiple day tours a month. But besides that, volunteering from time to time would only open your mind.
Last week Andres and I volunteered with the Banco de Alimentos in Quito. This great organization collects food at the Mercado Mayorista in the South of Quito and delivers it to institutions and poor families in the southern part of town. The actual idea is simple and not new, almost every big city in the world has some kind of food bank. Banco de Alimentos from Quito already exists for 13 years and is founded by Alicia Guevara. The day started with the food collection on the market. At 8.30 all volunteers come together and go to the food stands. At every stand we asked if the salesman would have some fruits or vegetables left for the foundation. Some owners would give nothing, others would give their damaged goods and other would even give us fresh goods. The coordinator Patty told me that the merchants really like it when there are foreigners volunteering because they tend to give a lot more.
After that we went to the food storage and offices of Banco de Alimentos. Here the distribution, processing and packaging takes place. Sometimes fruits are already overripe and they make juice from it that can be frozen. The volunteers at the Banco de Alimentos sometimes also receive donations of rice, pasta, and other types of food. This will be repacked at the offices and send in small packages for weekly consumption. Families and institutions don’t get everything for free, they have to pay a very small amount.
Patty (the coordinator) and Alicia (the founder) are very enthusiastic people and it makes me emotional to see how their passion can have effect on the community. Andres will be supporting them with monthly food transportation and we will help the foundation with volunteers and one off donations.
If you are looking for an experience where you can actually do something for a local foundation, you can send them or us an email with which Saturday you would like to join and you just go and help.