Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Founded by local restaurateurs Francie Nguyen, Jimmy Plouff & Frankie Victoria Banuelos in 2020, the Vallarta Food Bank continues to expand as volunteers work to try to make a positive change in the community that goes beyond feeding Puerto Vallarta families struggling to survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frankie Victoria, speaking on behalf of the founders of this grassroots movement, tells us what’s been happening, and what’s to come, at the Vallarta Food Bank:
On March 23rd Vallarta Food Bank will have officially been in operation for a year. We were born of the Covid crisis and forged by need of community. It’s been an amazing ride thus far and there’s still a lot of work to do!
We are extremely grateful that the community here has come forward to help us create this amazing and needed foundation. We hope to be able to do this for years to come. You guys have stepped up in ways we never imagined displaying amazing levels of dedication and generosity. Thank you. Tears in our eyes, lump in our throat, we look at it all and all we can say is… THANK YOU.
To date our amazing team and volunteers have delivered almost 2 MILLION meals across Vallarta. To include 66,487 despensas (Over 400 metric tons of dry goods!) and, as of March 18th, 50,972 hot meals from our soup kitchen. Keeping that supplied is a full time job! We are always working with suppliers to find the best prices and get the biggest bang for the bucks!
We have gathered and distributed clothing, medicines, household items, and more. We have had 10 people participate in our adult English classes (4 every 6 weeks since it started). We’ve provided disaster relief to far flung neighbors and friends. We’ve accomplished a mind blowing amount in this time. We’ve been able to do it because of amazing volunteers and our generous donors.
We’ve found ways to stretch every peso every day. We serve hot food to an average of 2000 people every week for around 20,000 pesos on average. That’s about 10 pesos per person for a nutritious and filling hot meal that they can count on every day 5 days a week. It is lovingly prepared and cooked by our amazing kitchen team and volunteers.
With all this in mind we have decided that Vallarta Food Bank is able and will continue to be more than just food. We have become so much more. We will be transitioning to a new name with the same mission… VFB Foundation is the manifestation of all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into this. Again, it would not be even a dream had you all not stepped up to make it possible.
So, no matter what your part in this organization has been, raise a glass, feel proud, and cheers to a year of awesome work. We’re going to start putting together some monthly dinners soon in order to have time with and to connect with you more.
To commemorate the anniversary of VFB coming together we thought it only appropriate to pull the old Tunnel Road BBQ crew and put on a BBQ dinner fundraiser. We’ll bring back all the favorites!!! So keep an eye out for that and all the great things we hope to keep doing!
The Vallarta Food Bank is 100% volunteer based, but all of their work would be impossible without the generosity of donors and supporters. If you would like to help the families of Puerto Vallarta get through these trying times, please visit vallartafoodbank.com for donation information. If you would like to receive a U.S. tax receipt for your donation, please visit casajojofoundation.org.