Antioch Church supplies practical help to the Red Cross
By Muriel Bevilacqua Logan
What would we do without the Red Cross? If you have ever needed an ambulance and its trained EMTs in San Miguel, as I have (five times), you have a real appreciation of the commitment and skill of these, mostly young, attendants, some paid a very low salary and some of whom are volunteers.
But this story of a new friendship begins with the four-year-old English-speaking, non-denominational Christian congregation of Antioch Community Outreach Church, a small church of expats and Mexicans who meet for Sunday worship at the Imperio de Los Angeles Hotel at the entrance to Los Frailes. The members were asked recently to pray for two families who had had emergency situations in which they lost their homes and possessions. We did pray, of course, but some in the group felt that we needed to be able to do more in such situations, and suggested we start collecting some basic supplies such as bedding, kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies etc. They reminded us of the scripture in James 2:15 in the New Testament that says “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of food, and one of you says, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled’ and yet do not give them what is necessary, what use is that?” Others of us were unsure about what we might be able to accomplish by collecting a lot of household stuff for needs that we couldn’t predict.
But we were trying to be faithful and to be ready for whatever might come our way. We did start gathering supplies and even asked others to bring such useful things to the committee to be put in our closet, for the new ministry we called ASAP, as in “As Soon As Possible”. We were hoping to help people in an emergency crisis in the first hours or days before they could get other appropriate help. So, one of our leaders went to talk to Dr. Roberto Maxwell, about how we might serve, especially in the expat community. He, being the secretary and a medical advisor to the Red Cross, suggested we visit the Red Cross base to talk with them and see their living conditions, which were themselves in need of help. We’d heard there was a big project for building a new Red Cross base, and that is true, but it is not yet financed and not proceeding rapidly.
The Red Cross has recently gotten four new ambulances through support from the municipality and a matching grant from the San Miguel Community Foundation, bringing them up to seven ambulances, one special unit with high-tech medical equipment, and one rescue truck for traffic accidents—- a very well- provisioned team of vehicles for a town of our size. But in fact, the conditions inside the Red Cross base were not so lovely.
The 12 paid (and various volunteer staff members) work at least three at a time, more on weekends, 24 hours on and 48 off living at the base. Their mattresses and bedding left much to be desired; their microwave was broken and they had no sizeable table at which the often large group could eat, among other needs. So the “advance team” went home and wrote of these needs to the congregation and to other friends in San Miguel. And in a little less than a week, we had gathered 12 new mattresses, new pillows and bedding, shower curtains, towels, a microwave, a large folding table and various other useful items. Computadores Pro Jovenes is also providing reconditioned computers. And we have a new friendship and relationship with these young people who give so much of themselves and were quite overwhelmed that someone had thought about their needs for nearly the first time.
We’re hoping now that they will be able to let us know when they become aware of other emergency needs in the community in which we might be of assistance. Then we at Antioch’s ASAP Ministry will pass on those needs to other friends so that we might all participate in solutions.
Meanwhile, now that we have seen the situation at the Red Cross, we understan
d that they always have great need for support donations for their basic costs and maintenance. They get a small amount from the municipal government, but not enough to make improvements. Among the many improvements they could make, the most immediate, according to Gustavo Rodriguez Rangel, the administrator and treasurer, is an urgent need to replace the roof under which the new ambulance units are stored, a very heavy metal shelter that is in danger of failing and crushing several vehicles at once. This is a need in the range of 10 to 15,000 pesos, which we, the community that they serve, could help to raise.
If you are able to donate to the Red Cross for this need or other you may give directly by or you may give though the San Miguel Community Foundation, where it is possible to receive a US tax exempt receipt. In that case, you may deliver or send your check made payable to San Miguel Community Foundation and in the memo line “Cruz Roja SMA” to San Miguel Community Foundation , Prolongacion de Pila Seca # 91-a or la Conexion, Aldama # 3 or Apartado # 490 San Miguel de Allende, Gto or use their website www.sanmiguelcommunityfoundation.org/. If you would like to give directly to the Red Cross and you do not need a tax exempt receipt, you may send or deliver you donation to the Red Cross base at Libramiento Manuel Zavala Z. #117, Fracc. Las Brisas, or telephone them to pick it up 1521616 o al 1220944 or deposit in their account at Bancomer Acct. # 0179808566 Cruz Roja Mexicana IAP. They can provide a factura for Mexican tax exemption with all the normal information. If you would like to be on the mailing list for the ASAP Ministry to receive a notice when we identify an emergency situation, or need to replenish our closet for ongoing crises, send an email to email@example.com saying how you would like to help.