Children in El Viejo

Children in El Viejo

Annual fundraiser supports children in Nicaragua

Casa Hogar

A night out for dinner and a silent auction will help children in a Nicaraguan orphanage.

The Fuente de Vida Society of Vernon holds its annual fundraiser for the Casa Hogar, an orphanage run by Nicaraguans Felix and Angelica Almendarez who started caring for children in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch caused widespread damage.

Vernon ICU nurse Debbie Bachman took a relief team to Nicaragua and inspired others to work on fundraisers and volunteering their services. Dr. Bill Charlton and Dr. Chris Cunningham have led a number of volunteer medical teams and Hugh Wallis and Wayne Schmidt have helped install water filters and and solar lighting.

“We are planning to go back in March 2012 and this fundraiser will let us take medicine, medical equipment and more water filters and solar lighting panels,” said Charlton.

“The need is never ending but we have seen success in terms of the clean water filters. The general health of the people, and especially the children, is improving. We are seeing less intestinal parasites, anemia and diarrhea so we have more time to take care of other health issues.”

He is pleased that the people in the villages can see that their children are healthier when they use clean water and understand the long-term benefits of the filters and want to use them. The lighting from solar panels in an area where it is dark at 6 p.m. also benefits families and children as they can do their cooking and homework in good light.

The orphanage continues to evolve and is now in a new building in a rural setting where they can grow their own food and have space for training facilities. Some of the children have gone on to secondary and post-secondary education.

“It’s always fun to see how the children are doing when we go back. We want to thank the people of Vernon who are so generous in their support,” said Charlton.

Gallo Pinto Night (gallo pinto means beans and rice, a usual meal in Nicaragua and what will be served for dinner) takes place Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Coldstream Women’s Institute hall at 9909 Kalamalka Lake Rd. Tickets are $25 from The Bean Scene. There will also be a silent auction with items including Nicaraguan pottery and crafts, golf packages, a Tofino fishing package, and Silver Star accommodation. Auction item donations are appreciated. To donate an item to the auctio,n e-mail