by Kyra Coates
Maria Pu is 41 years old and has 7 children. She is a tomato farmer in rural Guatemala, and lives surrounded by steep terrain and green hills. In 2014 she wanted to increase her crops, yet had no capital to do it.
“There are not many organizations that give loans to farmers because of the risk in agriculture due to bad farming practices or the weather,” said Maria. “Also being a woman, they do not take us as seriously.”
So she came to Friendship Bridge, and is now a member of a Trust Bank, and part of our Women’s Agriculture Credit and Training Program. Every month she meets with her fellow Trust Bank members for further training on modern farming techniques. Now after three years she is successfully watching her farm grow. Through all seasons, turmoil, successes, she has had Friendship Bridge Trust members and facilitators supporting her step-by-step along the way, and they aren’t the only ones.
Thousands of miles away in Colorado there is a family of four that month-by-month is supporting Maria and her training as well as other Friendship Bridge clients, though Maria has never heard their names before. They are Matthew and Angie Brand, parents to Sara, 2, and Ava, 1. The Brands are members of Friendship Bridge’s monthly giving program, called the Cada Mes Club. Their monthly donations support programs like the one Maria is a part of. They also volunteer their time with staff members at the Lakewood, CO office. Matthew helps with website and SEO optimization, and Angie takes on a variety of projects as needs arise. The Brands shared with us their thoughts on why they choose to support Friendship Bridge.
Friendship Bridge: “Why did you decide to join the Cada Mes Club?”
Brands: “We switched to the Cada Mes Club in 2017 in order to smooth out our donations throughout the year. Prior to that, we sporadically donated, but would often forget the schedule and then play catch up at the end of the each year in order to meet our personal donation goal. We have our donations scheduled with our bank to send a check monthly now and it’s better for our budget and hopefully helps Friendship Bridge with planning as well. “
Brands: “We found Friendship Bridge through Charity Navigator. It was important to us to give to a four star charity so that we knew our money would be used wisely. We identified with the mission of bringing people out of poverty because we feel that is how our money can have the biggest impact.”
FB: “Why do you volunteer your time?”
Brands: “We both started volunteering our time last fall. Angie has translated a Spanish document and Matthew is providing support and feedback on the website. Since Angie quit her job to stay at home with our children, we have less capacity to donate money, but like to offer our skills as somewhat of a substitute. Volunteering has also helped us learn more about the organization.”
FB: “What would you tell others who are thinking about joining Cada Mes or volunteering their time?”
Brands: “Anything that you can do, even if it doesn’t seem like much, will help others and make the world a better place.”
We here at Friendship Bridge want to thank the Brands for their generous support, as well as all our members of the Cada Mes Club, and all our volunteers. We wouldn’t be able to have the impact we do without you, so clients like Maria Pu can continue on her journey of having a thriving business to support her family and community.
Want to be a Cada Mes Club member and leave a lasting impact? Check out our Donate page here to sign up! Interested in volunteering with us? Fill out a volunteer form here and we will contact you!
Also, for our upcoming 2018 Building Bridges Stay-At-Home Gala all Cada Mes Club members get an exclusive ticket price of only $30! Don’t miss this opportunity to support an amazing event at an affordable price by becoming a member today!
Find out more about the Gala here.