Last Sunday, February 26th, 2017, the Tree of Life Foundation, PPEP, and the Tucson Rotary Club traveled to Mexico to inspect our humanitarian projects there. It was a very positive experience. Over six years ago El Reino de los Ninos (Kids’ Kingdom) Orphanage, in the town of Imuris, Sonora, Mexico, was going to be closed by the Mexican government because they had no resources and living conditions were poor. The Tree of Life Foundation intervened, rebuilt the orphanage’s infrastructure, rewired the buildings’ electricity, repaired the plumbing, refurbished the dormitories, installed a large commercial kitchen, constructed a sprout house, built a girls’ dormitory section, and began paying for 80-90% of the orphanage’s food costs. Now it has become not only a well-run orphanage, serving orphans from infancy to adolescence, but also a community center feeding over 200 meals each day to the Imuris community as well as to the resident orphans.
Many single working mothers drop their children off to play, study, and be regularly fed in a timely manner.The “Kids’ Kingdom” provides more than shelter. It is also a loving home and a space to teach and prepare children for independent adult life. Since the Tree of Life Foundation’s intervention in 2011, the orphanage services have expanded to offer a community soup kitchen, cooking and sewing classes, music and worship service, traditional Mexican dance lessons, devotionals and Bible studies, a Saturday Kid’s Club, a secondhand thrift store (at a separate location in Imuris), and a sewing shop for single mothers and youth, where they create sock monkeys, aprons, pin cushions, and fabric flowers for sale.
While we’ve completed our work on the orphanage’s infrastructure, Tree of Life Foundation needs to raise $500 more to expand the green house, which will provide the children with sprouts and microgreens to meet the increasing community appetite. The Kids’ Kingdom has now created an ongoing space, and people from Phoenix and Oregon now come down on a regular basis to add energy and services. The Kids’ Kingdom has become a taste of the Kingdom of Heaven for the whole Imuris community.
Our second stop was at the town of Benjamin Hill, where we’ve created a relief center initially designed to serve migrants on their way into the US from Mexico. Many of these potential migrants reach Benjamin Hill having gone up to three days without food and proper hydration. They have sparse clothing, and high levels of overall depletion. Our nearly completed relief center has provided at least seventy healthy meals each day for over a year, in addition to free showers and clothing to refresh people for the next leg of their journey. The center has been successful in its initial endeavors, and now, with the support of the mayor and his wife, this center is also becoming a community center focused on empowering local community teens and children. On Sunday, we helped deliver computers to be equipped with internet access, which we have paid for, to give the locals some computer training. We’re supporting these teens in developing a soccer club with the active support of the mayor and his wife (head of the town’s social services), the Tucson Rotary Club, and PPEP. In assessing these upgrades, we need $4,000 USD more to complete basic construction on the center.
While we’ve already received $2,000, we still need an additional $2,000 for this work. We have additional programs planned to follow as soon as these programs are completed. We would be very grateful for all those receiving this letter to donate towards this project’s completion to the Tree of Life Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, making all donations tax-deductible. Currently, all people who participate in any program at Tree of Life Center US automatically contribute to the Foundation’s projects, as 25% of the Tree of Life Center US’ net profits go to the Tree of Life Foundation. Now we are asking for $2,000 more to complete this phase of the Benjamin Hill project. We are deeply grateful for all your donations.
Our humanitarian work is bearing good fruit, and it is gratifying to see our progress. We thank all for your loving support. In a society that focuses more and more on what can I receive, it is gratifying to know there are those who ask, “What can I give.”
Blessings for your generosity,
Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD
President of Tree of Life Foundation
Please specify “Benjamin Hill–Sonora, Mexico” from the drop down menu on the donate page. This ensures your donation goes towards the completion of the Relief Center. If you wish to send a donation by mail, please do so by check made out to:
Tree of Life Foundation
attn. Benjamin Hill Relief Center
P.O. Box 778
Patagonia, AZ 85624