February's Burden on Nosara Families
February is always a big month for the Nosara Food Bank, because it is the beginning of the new school year. In Costa Rica, starting school means parents must scrounge for school uniforms, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies. The purchase of 3 pairs of pants and 3 shirts, underwear, classroom and athletic shoes (both are required) as well as a backpack and supplies can easily cost $250.00 for just one child!
How does the Nosara Food Bank help soften the blow? We help larger numbers of families with food in February, so they have more disposable income for school items. The Nosara Food Bank provided a month's worth of rice, beans, and cooking oil to 47 families in February 2018. Food baskets also contained powdered milk, flour, canned tuna, pasta, sugar, and coffee, as well as pet food and diapers where needed. The Nosara Food Bank also collected and distributed school supplies and new underwear for children.
Minimum wage earners - Nosara's legion of gardeners, cleaning ladies, and security guards, struggle to make ends meet aside from the extraordinary expense of school uniforms and supplies. Between paying for utilities (water, electricity, cable tv and cell phones), child care, transportation expenses and incidental medical expenses, there isn't a lot left over for much of anything else, even with two adults in the house working full time. Moreover, many of the families the Nosara Food Bank helps are single-parent families - usually women who have been abandoned by the fathers of their children, or who have children by men who are alcoholic and drug-addicted.
Every little bit of assistance helps. If you know a family who may struggle to meet beginning of the school year expenses, ask them if you can take them shopping at one of the local stores for a backpack or a pair of shoes. Shopping together is a good way to ensure your contribution is spent in the way that you envision. Be sure to make it clear from the start that you are only buying certain items and say "no" to requests that exceed your planned spending. Alternatively, donate to the Nosara Food Bank. We love small regular monthly donations, which provide us with an income we can rely on.