OUR HISTORY AND WHAT WE DO!
Volunteers Without Limits was formed in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico by bringing two existing San Felipe organizations together to provide more services for more people in the community. San Felipe Food Bank was started in 2008 by two Americans, Mark LaPointe and Monty Robbins. They were each providing food to about 25 families in the San Felipe community. They met and realized that if they combined their efforts they could reach out to the American and Canadian communities here for donations and provide more food. The food bank quickly grew to about 100 families. Families would receive bags of the staples consisting of rice, beans and flour every two weeks, and sometimes oil and sugar when available.
Paso a Pasito was an organization started in 2009 to provide support to families of children and adults with disabilities. The organization was started by Paty Orozco, a local Mexican woman. With no support services available in the community for families with special needs, Paso a Pasito set out to provide that support. Support was provided with food, diapers, Ensure, wheelchairs, medications, Dr. visits, lab tests and transportation costs to and from Mexicali for the visits. Money was raised by selling sodas and tamales on street corners. Paso a Pasito opened a small space to provide physical therapy for the children.
In 2010 the food bank opened a thrift store and provided space for Paso a Pasito to sell clothes and build a room for physical therapy. When the thrift store was being opened the founders, for age and health reasons, were looking for someone to take it over. Paso a Pasito was already providing food to the families of disabled children and adults so it was a no-brainer for them to take on the task.
In 2010 we combined the two organizations and formed Voluntarios Sin Limites (Volunteers Without Limits) and applied for legal registration as a Mexican Non-Profit organization. We chose that name carefully. We wanted to not limit the organizations scope of services to the community. By then we were feeding 250 families, had a therapy room for physical therapy, had a local Dr. providing equine therapy, a day labor program, provided clothes, shoes, blankets etc to those that need them and grew quickly.
When Volunteers Without Limits was formed it was very important that it was a Mexican Non-Profit with a Mexican President and an all Mexican board. It was very important that it was by the people for the people. Everyone in VWL is a volunteer. We have no paid administrative positions.
Volunteers Without Limits continued to grow. In late 2014-2015 we were up to 350 families receiving food. The Mexican government reached out to San Felipe through their Sin Hambre program and 3 community kitchens have opened up. Those kitchens provide 2 meals a day 5 days a week.
At the same time, the Social Service Organizations of Consejo was looking for a way to honor the memory of two women in the community that had done so much for the community. They formed the Kuchy Challenge and decided to fill the gap the community kitchens had by providing food to elderly shut-ins, people with disabilities and illnesses and that could not get out of their house to go eat. A copy of meals on wheels.
KO Hambre (Knock Out Hunger) was born.
The K stands for Kuchy Sanchez and the O is for Professor Olivia Valdez. Since the community kitchens opened and now people were able to get cooked meals twice a day, the need for bags of staples every two weeks was not as great. Since VWL was already providing food and was in tune with those that had real needs in the community, it was the next step in VWL’s evolution to agree to host the KO Hambre program. We put in a small kitchen in our thrift store, the SOC committee raised funds and the program was launched.
Today, August 2015, VWL and KO Hambre cooks 100 meals a day. About 85 are delivered to homes and we have drop-ins from the street that eat at the store. KO Hambre does have a paid driver that delivers everyday. By keeping the same driver we are able to also monitor the health and well-being of the people that we serve.
VWL currently works with the families of 23 children and 10 adults with disabilities. Disabilities consist of everything from autism, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, Dandy Walker Syndrome, West Syndrome, blindness, etc. We provide diapers to those that need them, Ensure, food, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and assist with money for medications, Dr. visits, lab tests, transportation to Drs. and anything else that we have the resources to help with.
Because of Paty’s work here in the community, when the government built the new social services building here, they added a therapy room complete with monitors so that therapists and Drs. in Mexicali could see and monitor progress and treatment. Paty is the Presidenta of the DIF therapy program.
We have a thrift store where ítems are donated and then sold to raise money for our programs. Our prices are very low so that the majority of people in the community can afford what they need. For those that don’t have money, we provide free clothes, blankets, shoes, jackets or whatever we can.
We currently just had equipment donated to open a juice and smoothie bar in our thrift store. Baja Juice and Smoothies will help us to raise more money for our programs. Each day we are presented with the opportunity to serve our community in bigger and better ways and we are grateful for all of the support from our volunteers and donors.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our page. Stop in and say hi when you are in the neighborhood. We want to know our neighbors.
Our motto is:
JUST SAY YES!