Recognizing GROW’s Essential Volunteers

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Photos courtesy of Nicole Murren. View more images of
Project Amigo in her
Flickr album.

It is often all too easy to disengage and forget where our food products are grown and who works to provide us with them. But by volunteering with Project Amigo, you’ll see first-hand the communities surrounding Organics Unlimited’s plantations and gain a deeper sense of gratification by giving a hand up to children and adults in less fortunate areas of Colima, Mexico.

Project Amigo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has worked closely with the community since 1984 to promote education and empowerment as the means to help reduce poverty in the state of Colima, Mexico, where Organics Unlimited and GROW bananas are grown. With the financial support of GROW banana purchases, Project Amigo provides residents with literacy, vision, dental and hearing clinics and also helps establish children’s educational programs, scholarships and boarding homes.

Volunteers are an important asset to GROW and Project Amigo. Without volunteers, the Project Amigo staff would not be able to provide the children with adequate education and care. The full-time staff have busy jobs managing the organization, and volunteers provide much-needed one-on-one time with students. Volunteers have the opportunity to visit for a week, meet the students, help junior high and high school youth with their homework, share children’s books with rural schools, or distribute clothing and basic essentials to families living in migrant sugar camps. A simple act of providing some extra time with a child can have a lifelong impact on both a child and a volunteer.

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Tonya, an employee at Organically Grown Company, a distributor of GROW bananas, recently took part in a Project Amigo volunteer work week that promoted literacy and the environment. She helped deliver books to students, and oftentimes it was the first book they’d ever received. Tonya’s work week group also took elementary school students to a petting zoo, a true joy for the children and the volunteers. “My experience with Project Amigo was very special and it will stay with me for a long time,” said Tonya.

Work week volunteers also visit an Organics Unlimited banana plantation to learn the process of growing organic bananas. Students in the schools live in the communities where GROW bananas are grown, so volunteers come away with a deeper understanding of how GROW purchases impact an entire community.

Nicole, another employee at Organically Grown Company, visited Colima during a Project Amigo Fiesta Week in December. During this special time, volunteers distribute clothing, shoes and toys to 300 disadvantaged children and create generous Christmas celebration for the students. Nicole was so touched by two special children, Roberto and Cesar, that she decided to sponsor them through Project Amigo for a year. A sponsorship helps pay for a child to enjoy a Christmas Fiesta, attend an annual field trip, receive a new set of clothes and shoes, and have access to dental, medical and educational services.

“I would like to see more people understand that even helping one person in some way is enough,” said Nicole. “Do what you can to make this world a better place.”

Project Amigo provides opportunities for your employees and others to support the communities surrounding GROW banana plantations. Work weeks and student sponsorships help bridge the gap between the grower and customer, reiterating the need to be a responsible part of the supply chain.

If you or your employees are interested in becoming more involved with GROW’s work in Colima through Project Amigo, please visit the Project Amigo website to learn more about sponsorship opportunities and work weeks. If you’re interested in a company service trip opportunity, Project Amigo can create a private work week for groups of 12 or more employees.

To learn more about our organic bananas and how you can supply them in your store, please visit OrganicsUnlimited.com. To learn more about the GROW program, please visit Growbananas.org.

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One Response to “Recognizing GROW’s Essential Volunteers”
  1. john andresen says:

    hugely impressive work you do

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