As the world seemed to come to a halt, or perhaps some of our enjoyment of it, we added masks to our daily attire and learned about social distancing.
For many it has been refreshing to know that the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) has continued to provide interactions with online classes, in-person activities and building collaborations in the community. Going forward, as vaccines become available and we learn to safely deal with a new normal, the role of LCS will greatly expand.
As we come to the end of this crazy year, I think it is important to keep you, our members (current and past), up to date on how LCS is doing. Earlier in the year, the board of directors had serious conversations and developed work plans to consider what the future may have in store. Back then, we knew that if some things didn’t change, the organization would need to completely and permanently shut down by October, becoming a victim of the pandemic. We started getting appraisals for the property and considering our options. We did not have enough funds to keep our employees working to care for the gardens and grounds. Our reserve funds were only sufficient to carry out a closing down process. Yes, we really were in that tough a shape. Some wanted to immediately sell the Wilkes Education Center, a center where many members of the Mexican community have received so much benefit to improve their lives.
There have always been some in the organization who feel we should be an expat club and provide programs only for expats. There are many more members who cherish what the Mexican people provide to us on a daily basis and feel LCS is an important player in enhancing the quality of life for all who call Lakeside home.
So how did we get through these eight months when the majority of our income sources dried up? It was through the generosity of people stepping up, people who do not want to lose LCS, people who appreciate the value LCS brings to Lakeside. The gifts ranged from 100 pesos to 225,000 pesos. Over two million pesos have come in through our appeals and fundraising efforts. These funds allowed LCS to continue through this year. We are eternally grateful to the donors who reached deep in their pockets and stepped forward.
As this year comes to an end, this is your opportunity to say you made a difference. If you have donated previously, will you consider a year-end gift now? If you did not get a chance to donate earlier, will you step forward and do what you can now before the end of the year? The funds that come in during December will be the funds that get us into the new year and allow us to continue our services that enrich the community. I frequently hear from our constituents who are appreciative and thankful for how important LCS is to Lakeside life. Stories from members of the local Mexican community and Expats alike who are thankful that we are their voice at the table. If you can help us now, please make a donation online through the LakeChapalaSociety.com website or by dropping off an envelope in the office.
Thank you and may your holiday season be peaceful. I look forward to seeing you on the campus.
Steve Balfour, president, the Lake Chapala Society