Manos de Amor
Manos de Amor, a nonprofit organization born from the desire of a handful of Bucerias citizens to help less fortunate children of the Bahia de Banderas municipality, established the Casa Hogar children’s shelter in April 2004.
Up to 30 children – age from 2 to 14 – currently housed there come from families either unwilling or unable to care for them. Many have been touched by abuse, poverty, abandonment andaddiction.
A steering committee composed of full- and part-time Bucerias residents helps guide Casa Hogar Director Veronica Gomez, and raises funds to cover the shelter’s operating expenses.The mission of Manos de Amor is to provide these children with adequate food, clothing and shelter, ensure that they attend school and church, and give them a safe and loving haven up to the age of 14.
A sizeable portion of the money needed to run Casa Hogar comes from fundraising events held during the high season in Bucerias.
This year, the steering committee has two large fundraising events.
The first one, the annual Hamburger Fest, is scheduled at the Los Mangos Plaza on Tuesday, February 5. The menu, as always, consists of burgers, salad and karaoke. There may even be an appearance by the Manos de Amor kids.
Tickets cost 300 pesos. Cocktails will start at 4:30 p.m., with dinner following at 5:30 p.m.
The organizers say don’t delay, because tickets always sell out fast.
The other annual fundraiser is the popular Rhythm ‘N Ribs, to be held on Monday, February 18, 6 to10 p.m. in the Chedraui supermarket parking lot.
Some of the most popular restaurants in Bucerias and La Cruz will sell food and dance music will be performed by Luna Rumba.
There will also be a beer garden, silent auction, bake sale and a performance by the Manos de Amor kids.
The organizers say while these fundraisers are important, volunteers are a key factor in Manos de Amor’s success.
With an ever-increasing number of visitors each year taking an interest in the shelter, as well as volunteering, a program called Tours of Love has been created, taking place every Tuesday, 2:30 p.m., through the end of April.
Bucerías celebrates its traditional Our Lady of Peace patron saint festival from January 16 to 24.
The nine-day event is a religious celebration that has been observed for many years in the Riviera Nayarit. Today, although it does maintain much religious nature, it also contains secular and folkloric aspects such as parades, games of chance, traditional foods, amusement rides and other fairground attractions and entertainment.
The festival begins with a ceremony by church and local government officials, followed by entertainment and fireworks. These continue daily until the final day.
The most symbolic act of the tradition is the Maritime Pilgrimage, the “Blessing of the Boats” with the Peace Torch, which is escorted by boats that place themselves in the shape of a cross on Thursday, January 24.
Fishermen leave from nearby La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and after landing on the Bucerias beach in Bucerias centro, they attend a Mass offered for the Virgin in the Church of Our Lady of Peace.
Men from all over the southern coast of Nayarit come together to pray for a year of good fishing, tourism, health and prosperity for the area’s families.
During the week, there are Masses held at the church, fireworks displays, carnival rides and games, dozens of food stands, entertainment and the crowning of the Queen of the Patron Saint Festival, all taking place in and around the main plaza in Bucerías.
Gillian Jones, the organizer of this year’s Bucerias Senior Christmas Basket campaign, has announced that this year’s target of 150 has been surpassed.
In total, 162 baskets were donated.
Each donated basket contained non-perishable foods, personal care items such as soaps, lotions and shampoo and one or more holiday gifts.
Jones said the total was more than in any of the previous three years of the program’s existence. This is the second year she was in charge of the basket collection program.
Former Bucerias resident Sheila Ellis initiated the program in 2015, setting a goal of collecting baskets for 50 seniors.
All the baskets were collected this year during between December 10 and 17 and most of them were distributed quickly.
“Many of the baskets allocated to the Abuelos de Bucerias group were distributed on December 17 at their center,” Jones said.
However, not all the seniors could be there that day, so they are going back in January to distribute the rest. “If you weren’t able to go this time, please join us on Tuesday, January 8 at 1:30 p.m.,” Jones said. “It was, as last year, a terrific time and all the smiles and hugs each one of us received from the seniors was wonderful.”
Jones asks those who are planning to go by car to let her know, as some of the seniors would appreciate a ride to their home with their gift.
To get there, take Rio Colorado, turn right onto the Canal road and then proceed a short distance. The center is on the right hand side, opposite the rodeo structure.
“Thanks go to Glenn and Tanya at YO YO MO’s, Hugh Gaffney at Luna Lounge, Tracy Bonin and Floydilou Kerr at Lujo Lifestyles and Karen Blair at Karen’s Place restaurant for being our collection locations,” Jones said. “And also thanks to Christine Daniels Shulken. Without her help I couldn’t have managed to pick up 162 baskets in a week. On behalf of the John Ozzello Memorial Food Bank & Humanitarian Aid, I thank each and every one of you for your incredible generosity.”
Amigos Happy Hour
Amigos de La Cruz’s Happy Hour (Ahh …) for this month is set for Friday, January 11, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Langosta Diez Restaurant, on the glorieta at Coral and Langosta.
The guest speaker is Pam Thompson of Health Care Resources Puerto Vallarta. Topics she will cover include hospital services, emergency information, insurance information, consular information, physicians and how they work and air evacuation, among other things.
There will be a no-host bar, so come, sit back and relax. Ahh …