Volunteer Corner: Fiesta fundraising right from home

A young patient at St. Andrew's Children’s Clinic is all smiles.

COVID-19 has adversely affected business bottom lines, but nonprofit causes have taken severe hits as well, none more than St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic in Green Valley.

For 48 years their volunteers have been creating miracles for impoverished Mexican children who suffer from cerebral palsy, cleft palate, spina bifida, speech and hearing issues, neurological disorders, and many other debilitating conditions. Volunteer doctors and other medical professionals fly in from around the country to perform surgeries, provide rehab, therapy and other services for hundreds of kids deprived of medical attention with little chance to address their afflictions. Other volunteers from this community work out the details and provide food, transportation and lodging for families to make it all happen. It, of course, takes a lot of money.

COVID brought it to a halt, but St. Andrew’s is trying to get back on its feet later this year, so they are launching a first ever “non-fiesta” fundraising “non-event.”

Whoa! What?

Well, it means you don’t have to run out to buy a party dress or rent a tux to go to a gala, wrote Executive Director Laura Romero in a personal letter to past donors. In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere. You safely stay home and pretend you’re partying while your contributions go directly to St. Andrew’s so it can continue to do its essential work for these desperate families.

Maybe you had fun putting on a pretend party when you were little. It’s sort of the same, but this time your pretend party can help create some of that joy of being a normal kid for someone else.

“We wanted to try something different,” said volunteer fundraising director Barb Hunt. “It’s been very difficult during the pandemic to communicate with people who want to help,” she explained. “This is our way to ask folks to forego food and drink and instead take the step to offer life-changing love to an innocent child in need.”

“It changes the kids’ lives immediately,” says Board President Patricia Martinez. “People travel hundreds of miles for this help.”

Martinez has been with the organization for 47 years, beginning as a volunteer interpreter, then preparing food for doctors, now leading the board in planning and decision making. “I have enjoyed over the years witnessing all these doctors do. It’s rewarding to see how these kids get better.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic has nearly stopped them dead in the water.

“In the ten years I have been Executive Director, this has been the most challenging,” Romero said.

The organization has been scrambling to try to continue to provide some services to the families. Turning to telemedicine and Zoom to keep in contact, they found some ways to reach out to those who still need their support, she said. Volunteer doctor Guillermo Garcia Quiroz has been seeing some kids over the border, and the group has been able to deliver essential medical supplies.

“We are still here,” Romero said, “still hopeful, and still helping our children.”

If you want to “join” the “non-party,” you can send your donation to St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, P.O Box 67, Green Valley, AZ 85622 or donate through their website at www.standrewsclinic.org, clicking on the Donate Now button.

You are also welcome to call Barb Hunt at 520-648-3424 if you want more information.

Contact the Green Valley-Sahuarita Volunteer Clearinghouse at its website: gvsvolunteering.org