Sunday, January 18, 2015

Loreto Bay Volunteers – making a difference in many ways!

Amidst the day to day routine of “Living Loreto” that for most of the ex-pat population here includes socializing, golfing, kayaking, cycling, beachcombing – and just enjoying the pleasures of spending time enjoying a beautiful place and a (usually) ideal climate, a growing number of people are looking for something more.  They are looking for a way to give back, or pay forward - to do things that make a difference and make a contribution that will help to make this an even better place, and benefit some of the people who live here under difficult circumstances.

This desire to help found a way to be expressed with the formation of Loreto Bay Volunteers about four years ago.  This umbrella organization brought together those in our community that were looking for a way to get involved and contribute to making a difference, and worthy recipients throughout the surrounding area so that the efforts were focused where they would do the most good where the need was greatest.

While the Volunteer group has a regular schedule of meetings throughout the season, this week there was an “Open House” event held at the Golf Course Clubhouse to introduce the community at large to the numerous agencies that receive assistance in one form or another, and continue to expand their activities and the benefits that result. 

When I arrived, the courtyard of the Clubhouse was busy with over a hundred mainly Loreto Bay residents, along with others who had come from town to get involved, while around the perimeter there were table top displays by a number of the agencies that receive support from the organization. In addition to beverages and snacks provided by the Hoyo 19, the Clubhouse restaurant, Rich (the “lone dog” musician of the local Beach Dogs currently in Loreto Bay) was doing a solo performance entertaining the assembled crowd.

The energies of the Volunteers are focused into four general areas: Community, Environment, Children and Animals and most of these involve the following agencies with different specific areas of interest and activity:

Caritas - A charity organization that works to feed, clothe & give basic care to the needy of Loreto and its surrounding communities.

Ramon’s Families – Named after a popular Property Manager in Loreto Bay who is the organizer, this is a group of destitute/in-need families that have “fallen through the cracks” and are now receiving donations of food, clothing and housewares collected in Loreto Bay.

Internado - The Internado is a government-sponsored hostel for 62 children from kindergarten thru high school. It provides children who live in the rancheros & fish camps from outlying areas a place to live in town so they can attend the local public schools.

Earthcomp - Earthcomp’s goal is to reduce waste and the resulting contamination of air, soil, & water thru public education and immediate action that restores and preserves natural balance by recycling plastics and composting organic waste.

Amigos de Loreto - ADL is the civil association/Mexican nonprofit “umbrella” organization that LBV works with to comply with Mexican law with a primary focus on supporting the medical needs of the larger Community and children’s groups.

Ilsa Verde Garden – This program aims to develop an educational gardening area for kids in Loreto, the full program is based on the Lifelab curriculum ( that runs from kindergarten to high school in its educational range.

Living Roots - Living Roots has been promoting vibrant Baja Ranchero lifestyle for future 
generations. The focus is on Community empowerment, Economic development, Youth engagement, and expanding the marketplace through developing a Cultural Center in nearby San Javier.

Eco Alianza de Loreto – With the mission to protect & conserve our natural & cultural environment by empowering civil society and Government to jointly create healthy & prosperous communities, the goals for Eco Alianza include improving the enforcement of Loreto National Park rules & regulations and increase the awareness and protection of the municipal watershed of Loreto.

Patronada of Casa Hogar - Casa Hogar translates as House Home, meaning a house that is a home-cozy, snug, and safe. It is a temporary home for children who have no family to live with. Casa Hogar Loreto is sponsored in part by the Mexican government and further support is provided by the Volunteers to provide additional living necessities.

Segunda Chansa – Supporting Loreto’s private animal shelter with supplies and equipment and organizing Volunteers to help feed and socialize rescued animals and transport some of them to shelters in the US for adoption.

Animalandia – Provides clinic care for stray and abandoned animals and sponsors periodic free spay and neuter clinics and vouchers for these procedures that are distributed to low income pet owners in Loreto.

CAM - Special Education School – Providing financial support and other contributions for the education of local children with learning disabilities.

Community Medical Support - Focusing on Loreto Hospital, Red Cross, the Bomberos, and the Rehab Unit, this LBV subgroup collects funds and other donations for quarterly acquisition of supplies for the Loreto Hospital.

As you can see, beneath the surface of the tranquil setting that we all enjoy here, the needs and opportunities for volunteer assistance and charity are many and diverse, and Loreto Bay Volunteers are making important contributions that are making big differences in so many areas!  At the same time, these activities provide purpose and satisfaction for the growing numbers of residents who are spending increasing amounts of time here and are looking for meaningful ways to make a contribution.

Underlying all of this positive effort and energy is the simple fact that I have been aware of since I started living here almost 10 years ago – a little goes a very long way!  While many of the “poor” in North America may own cars and TV sets, here in the Baja poverty is much more basic and the needs are far greater.  But with that, the opportunities to make a real difference are also greater, and that is a benefit for all of us who are able to be “Living Loreto”.

P.S. If you are looking for more information on any of these activities or Agencies or want to get involved and help (from near or far) please visit or Loreto Bay Volunteers on Facebook.