Eight years ago, Vernon local Blanca Crane began renting a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. During her first trip, she heard about a local orphanage and decided to visit.
Having grown up in Acapulco Guerrero, Mexico, she said she felt a special connection to the kids. She said she had a similar childhood before she immigrated to Canada in 1972 when she was 10.
Since her first visit, she has made it her mission to fundraise and collect clothes, food and toys for the children of Casa Hogar Orphanage each Christmas. The orphanage currently supports over 50 children of all ages, from newborns to teenagers and runs as a non-profit organization. It does not receive any help from the government, so it relies on people, like Crane, for donations.
She said that she would go back each year to bring the donations to the children directly. However, she needs a new kidney and is currently waiting for a transplant. Because this prevents her from travelling, her friend Mary Spoor, owner Vernon Flowers, went in her place.
She said she raised about a $1,000 as well as donations of clothes and school supplies.
“It was unbelievable,” said Crane. “A lot of people came to the shop, brought me money and I put it in an envelope and wrote to the orphanage in Spanish so I could get the receipts for people. One person gave me $500 which was amazing.”
Along with the receipts, Crane received a hand-written message (in Spanish) from the orphanage thanking her and those who contributed for their donations. When she received the receipts in January, she hand delivered them to those who had contributed.
“All the money goes to the kids. I pay for my flight and make sure that everything is for them,” she said. “I like doing it and that’s the reward for me.”
She said she will be fundraising and accepting more donations for the orphanage again this year.
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