Dear Corazón: Marcos Calvillo

From John Torrence:

Our staff in Mexico continues to monitor how our communities and families are holding up during the lock-down, and we will continue to identify more families for assistance as needs warrant. We thank all of you who have donated to make this assistance possible.

Last week we introduced Marisol, a young, energetic leader in Nuevo Milenio who is desperately trying to keep her community together. Today, we go over the hill to Pedregal, one of the first communities where Corazón’s founders started serving the poor nearly 50 years ago! I first met Marcos and his wife Esperanza in the early 1990s. They lived in the smallest house you can imagine. With their two children, they had had a single room with bunk beds on one side and a kitchen area on the other side. The aisle between the two sides was so small, you could not turn around in the house! Everything was clean, the children were very personable, and I knew we had to find a way to help this family.

We were just starting to develop our community-based program when I met Marcos Calvillo and his family. Marcos’ family was among the first participants to be part of our continuing programs, rather than just the recipient of a free house. We built his family a new home around 1996 as part of our continuing support. His family has also participated in various programs, taking classes, learning new skills, earning scholarships for the children. I met up with Marcos last year at a house build in Tecate, fifty miles from his home, and was pleased to see that he was still participating in the program! It was great to hear about their success - the kids are grown and have their own families, Marcos and Esperanza are leaders in their community, helping others. I promised to come for a visit one day - Marcos recently called me to express his concerns. I asked Louise to send someone to investigate.

These are strange and difficult times, and Mexico does not have a safety net the way we do.

This is Marcos Calvillo's current situation:

"I live in the community of Pedregal, and I have been participating in Corazón programs for over 24 years.  My family has been fortunate to receive a house and scholarships for my children. I am devoted to my family and the Pedregal community. I have been committed to bettering our communities in Tijuana over the years by volunteering with Corazón on weekends to build homes for my neighbors.

Recently, my family and I have gone through some tough times. I lost my job, and I no longer have health insurance.  With the coronavirus, the older employees were the first to be laid off for fear of putting our health at risk. I am 54 years old, and I continue to search for work, but unfortunately, there are fewer job opportunities for older adults in Mexico.  With my most recent employer, I received health insurance benefits, and it covered the cost of my prescriptions for my diabetes and heart condition.

My most pressing worry is that I might not be able to put food on the table or purchase the medicines that address my ongoing health conditions. I'm worried that I will not be able to purchase the medication I need, which costs $10 per week.  I have a family of five living in our Corazón home, and it costs about $12 per week to feed our family.

I cannot express my gratitude for the help that the Corazón family has provided for my family and me over the past 24 years. I ask for your help in these most trying times - thank you in advance for your support."

Sincerely,

Marcos Calvillo

We have already sent Marcos funds to cover the cost of his medication,

and we will stay in touch with him. We have dozens of families in similar situations.

Can you please help us with these emergency needs?