Local charity Angeles de Medellin (Angels of Medellin) is working with Colombia Reports to bring Christmas to 3,000 children and 1,000 families this year.
Founder Mark Kaseman has lived in Medellin for the past six years, and has been volunteering his time and resources to help provide for the basic needs of the displaced people living in the mountains around Medellin. “When I started there were 5,000 people living in this area. Today there are 10,000,” Kaseman told Colombia Reports.
During the year Kaseman works in a school teaching English and computers, but outside of his classes Kaseman works on an ambitious project to serve the people around him. He organizes a lunch program for children in the school. “Many kids go a day or more without food,” he explains. “One dollar can feed one kid lunch and a snack for five days.”
Kaseman has also organized four clothing drives this year. In one clothing drive students from the University of Antioquia donated five boxes of clothes to the community he works with.
Throughout the year Kaseman assists families with their basic needs by arranging for doctor’s appointments, purchasing medication, and providing household items.
Last year Angeles de Medellin and Colombia Reports raised $5,000 to bring Christmas to Medellin’s displaced people. Kaseman says that last year he bought toys, fruit and candy for 2,500 children and gave eight bags of food and household items to 700 families.
Kaseman’s goal for this year is to raise $7,500, and reach 3,000 children and 1,000 families. But Kaseman is worried that the money won’t go as far this year. He explains that it’s more difficult this year, because the dollar is so low relative to the peso.
Over the next two weeks Kaseman is working to reach his $7,500 goal and then he will start negotiating with produce and toy suppliers. Kaseman makes his purchases in bulk in order to get the best possible price.