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.
Over the past 18 months they’ve expanded their operations to include soup kitchens, classes, showers, and more. And, for the last 3 1/2 weeks they have been on the front lines, providing much needed help to those who have lost homes and jobs due to the flooding caused by Hurricane Nora and subsequent heavy rains.
Francie Nguyen, speaking on behalf of the Vallarta Food Bank founders, tells us more:
Since August 29th, it’s been an emotional roller coaster ride for all of us at Vallarta Food Bank. We saw our Vallarta neighbors in crisis, and we did our best to step up as quickly as possible. It was only possible because of our dedicated group of volunteers and contributors.
After the hurricane, many of our neighbors, who are the backbone of this community we love, were left without shelter and food. Some had their belongings swept away in the flood waters. Others were faced with the difficult task of cleanup and restoration to make their homes livable again. Many small businesses near the river also experienced major damages and needed help to reopen.
Because of your contributions, we immediately were able to provide the food, clothing, cleaning supplies, and other essentials that were urgently needed. We also created a special Cleaning Crew that worked incessantly cleaning out caked mud from the public park, the Cultural Center, and small businesses.
At the same time, we proceeded to help as many families who lost everything as we could. In the past 2 weeks, we interviewed hundreds and found 28 families who have not received any assistance. Using the money that we raised for the hurricane fund, we will deliver mattresses, stoves, or refrigerators to these families this weekend. They live in the neighborhoods of Getsemani, Paso Ancho, Emiliano Zapata, Garza Blanca, Villa de Guadalupe and Ramblases.
We just want to say THANK YOU in the biggest way to all of you who donated, volunteered, and shared our message. We are touched and humbled by the outpouring support we’ve received from so many. This community is so uniquely amazing and generous. We are so lucky to be a part of this beautiful place. Together, we are doing great things!
We deeply appreciate the fundraisers that were created to help us with our work: Georgia Darehshori from Casa Karma, Bill Williams and Juan Alvarado Gonzalez from Casa JoJo Foundation and La Catrina Cantina, Chachalacabar & Mandy McPherson, Christ Church by the Sea, Connie J Argus, Thom Barnes, Jim Meadows, and Marsha Meadows, and so many other super generous and kind-hearted friends and family who have been supporting our work. We’re also thankful for many new friends who donated their time with us, whether it was shoveling mud, or singing beautifully at the fundraisers.
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.