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Fain Winner: Lauren’s Regalo

Lauren’s Regalo (Lauren’s Gift): Building Schools Abroad

Apr. 1, 2009

Partnership with PEILE, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization building schools in underserved areas.

 

Community Contact Information:

Temple Beth Jacob

Newburgh, NY

www.tbjnewburgh.org

 

Goals:

  • Provide clothing, dental and school supplies for Guatemalan children in need.
  • Raise funds to build school in a poor Guatemalan village.
  • Provide desks for the new school.

 

Overview:

Lauren’s Regalo was inspired by a congregant’s volunteer work. After seeing photographs of a Guatemalan clinic’s deplorable conditions, synagogue members organized drives, donating more than one ton of clothing and school supplies along with 100 school desks to PEILE, a Guatemalan nonprofit building schools in underserved areas.

 

Preparation:

The congregation advertised their collection efforts through e-mails and the temple bulletin, reached out to area synagogues and churches, and had coverage in various forms of media (print , TV and radio). They invited the larger community to join the efforts and publicized the predicament of the people they were trying to help.

 

Project Implementation:

"Lauren's Regalo" (Lauren's Gift) began when a young congregant shared her photos of the living conditions in the Guatemalan village where she worked. The collection was done in the synagogue lobby. Volunteers were involved in the outreach effort and the collection, packing and shipping of the donated items. They worked closely with a Guatemalan non-profit organization, which builds schools in rural, underserved areas of Guatemala.

 

Results:

We were able to supply this poor village in Guatemala with one TON of new or gently used clothing, the funds to build a new schoolhouse, 100 desks, dental supplies and school supplies. The combined efforts of our synagogue with other synagogues, nearby churches and the local Hispanic community had a true impact on the larger community. Thanks to a news story that appeared in the Associated Press, two shipping companies stepped forward to ship the clothes, school and dental supplies and desks to Guatemala, free of charge, even assuming the import/export taxes. The project raised $7,000 for the school children.