Lomas-Palomas Benefit Saturday at The Bean

November 30, 2008

Local organizers of a donation drive to help needy families in Palomas and Lomas del Poleo, Mexico have announced a benefit event to be held at The Bean in Mesilla, Saturday, Dec. 6 from 7-9 p.m. Admission will be a canned food item, or a bag of beans or rice, or $3 at the door. There will be a presentation about these communities, including a question and answer session, beginning about 7:45 p.m. Entertainment will include live music by Steve Klinger, and food and beverages may be purchased.

Volunteers April Willeford and Rebecca Wiggins report their donation drive, started two weeks ago, has brought “a tremendous response,” including many articles of clothing. Among items still needed: flashlights, batteries, gallon jugs of water, kerosene lamps, coats, gloves, hats, rice, beans, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, canned foods and toys (new or used).

Palomas, across the border from Columbus, N.M., has few jobs to support its 7,000 residents, and tourism has declined sharply due to the economic downturn and many incidents of street violence earlier in the year, mostly involving drug traffickers.

Lomas del Poleo, a colonia on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez, has been under siege for several years as a result of a land dispute between the wealthy Zaragoza family and settlers who built houses on the land starting in the 1970s. A portion of the community is surrounded by barbed wire, with armed guards controlling access to the homes, and numerous accusations that they have demolished homes and beaten residents, who are forced to live without electricity or water.

“Though we still need warm clothing, such as jackets, gloves and hats, what we haven’t received much of are non-perishable food items and toys,” the two reported in an e-mail update.  “We are hosting an event this Saturday in hopes to collect more of these items, and to inform people in our community about how they too can become involved and help out.”

Willeford and Wiggins said all proceeds from this event will go directly into the donation drive, including money raised with the cover charge for those who do not bring a food item.

Steve Klinger is editor and publisher of Grassroots Press as well as a singer-songwriter with two CDs, Songs of Freedom and Land of Make-Believe. He will perform a song he wrote about one of the communities, Lomas del Poleo.

For more information, contact Rebecca Wiggins or April Willeford: wiggins@nmsu.edu, or awillefo@nmsu.edu.

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