When tutoring with Pelopidas School finished in mid-June, the manual labor of the KKIS Project began. Our mission is to provide school supplies to children who need them and we had identified four locations to work from: the Pelopidas School where we tutor, the El Peten neighborhood which is just north of that school, the Cristo Rey development that is carved into the jungle west of these areas and the Jose Espana Cruz public junior high school in the Colosio neighborhood at the north end of Playa.
Half our budget from our fundraiser last February was spent in March on school supplies that we knew we would use: reams of white paper, spiral and sewn notebooks, packets of colored paper, pencils, pens, glue, scissors, dictionaries, calculators, pencil cases, etc., and stored in a KKIS Board member’s garage that became our warehouse. Marilou Young and I (the remaining Board members during the summer months) reviewed the applications we had from last year and predicted what more we would need to fulfill the needs of this year’s kids. We purchased more supplies, establishing a wonderful relationship with Tony’s Papeleria on Ave 30 who gave a discount every time we shopped (which was often). We also found a shop that sold us quality backpacks at a great price on Ave 30. Shopping at local stores really made a huge difference.
Rotary Seaside members, many of our tutoring volunteers, neighbors and friends helped us with phone calls to last year’s applicants, many hours of inventories and still more days of backpack filling and finally delivery. We decided that the kids we had helped last year with school supplies and a backpack would not receive a pack again this year. Tony’s Papeleria donated 200 large plastic bags that we used to deliver supplies to those children. Each child received the supplies they had requested on their application and almost every one was different, so each was labeled with a specific name. This took incredible organization and tedious hours of bookkeeping, but in the end it was accomplished. We helped 350 children this year with school supplies, including 158 backpacks.
This was a huge project undertaken in the heat of Playa del Carmen’s summer months. Thanks again to all who helped. And please know that next summer we will appreciate all the help we can get.