Building a home requires approximately $25,000-$30,000 of materials and 1200+ hours of labor. Families from the states donate or raise needed funds and, working alongside the prospective homeowners, provide the labor to construct each home. Thirty plus volunteers spend five days working full-time constructing each home during their Christmas holiday. Volunteers are involved from start to finish with tasks ranging from laying cinderblock and framing walls, to applying roofing materials.
The final details of each home are completed in the months following the initial holiday work period. Most homes are completed and ready for the families to move in by Memorial Day weekend.
Families are Changed
FHF volunteers report that their sacrifice of time and money is worth every minute and every dollar given. By nature, the service rendered is satisfying: to give a life of independence to families who couldn’t possibly attain it on their own. FHF volunteers not only experience the satisfactions of giving in a tangible way, but also benefit from creating lasting friendships and experiencing the true meaning of the holiday season.
Rick Finnlayson summed it up best, after supervising the construction of one of the homes: “I have been reflecting on the experience my family had working with (FHF) in Mexico this past Christmas for quite some time. We have decided to make this a family tradition. This past Christmas was the most memorable on so many fronts. The great feelings of service and gratitude felt for the abilities we have been give to help those in need along with new friendships developed with so many wonderful people. Thank you for including us and affording us such a wonderful experience.”
Get involved and make a difference that will forever influence the lives of not just one family, but of generations. For those participating in the Christmas building project, we suggest a donation of either $1000 as an individual or $3000 per family. However, any donation of time, money or accomodations, is greatly appreciated, even if you are unable to physically join us in Puerto Penasco.
WHAT TO WEAR
The weather at Christmastime is generally cool and sometimes windy. Bring layers of clothing to work in. It will be cool in the morning, mild to warm during the day and cool after the sun sets. The first three days will be dirty. We will be working with concrete and block and it is very dusty and messy. Please bring gloves. The fabric gloves with plastic dots on them work best. Everyone will want to have multiple
pairs. You could easily use a pair a day per person, more if you don’t keep track of them. They are inexpensive. Please bring and wear safety glasses. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Harbor Freight and Ace have inexpensive “stylish” working sunglasses that are protective lenses. Dust and sand are miserable in the eyes and it is easy to prevent. Hats are a very good idea. We highly recommend them as well. Don’t be fooled by the cool weather. The sun will be bright and can cause sunburn.
Over the years of building houses, we have had a few minor medical issues arise, nothing very serious. We have also been fortunate to have MDs, Nurses and EMTs each year on the work crew. We are sorry to impose on the MDs, Nurses and EMTs but if you have these skills, we ask you to please notify us so we can assign you to the appropriate project and please bring a bag with your favorite first aid paraphernalia and let us know if you can help in an emergency. If possible, we would prefer to have a medical professional on each of the job sites. We will inform all volunteers of the location and availability of emergency medical care and local hospital at our organizational meeting.
Because of news reports concerning violence in Mexico, we receive inquiries each year as to the safety of traveling to and spending time in Rocky Point to work on this project. In more than ten (10) years of this Christmas endeavor, our volunteers have not experienced any violence or threats to their safety. Many of us travel to Rocky Point multiple times during the year and have not had any problems. Random acts of violence could occur any time and any place in the United States and/or Mexico. Many of the volunteers have coordinated their travel schedules so that they can travel in groups from Lukeville, Arizona to Rocky Point. We will attempt to facilitate this as we received confirmations as to when people are traveling to Rocky Point. Use common sense, be aware of your surroundings and travel during daylight hours seem to be good guidelines to follow. If you would prefer to travel with others from Lukeville, Arizona to Rocky Point, Mexico, please let us know your travel dates and approximate time of arrival at Lukeville and we will attempt to coordinate crossing the border in groups.
It would be very helpful if each family could bring the following small tools/equipment and be willing to leave these items for use on future projects:
- Two hammers
- Two inexpensive aluminum or plastic 24-inch levels.
- One roofing wacker-tacker with three boxes of staples
- Two (2 or 2 ½ gallon) plastic buckets with metal handles
- One 5-gallon plastic bucket
- One large and one medium diamond shaped mortar trowel
- 2-3 inexpensive tape measures
- Several construction crayons/pencils
We have arranged for discounted rates at the Las Palomas Golf and Beach Resort. If you have not already made your housing arrangements, please contact Maria Garcia in reservations at Las Palomas Golf and Beach Resort (866-360-2324). Tell her you are with the Service Trip with Families Helping Families, and that you want to book your room at the “owners rates”. Ocean view rooms are less expensive than ocean front rooms.
PASSPORTS, ID OR PASSPORT CARDS
Passports work the best for re-entering the United States from Mexico. A passport card is also an option. Please check cbp.gov for additional information, and get your documentation soon! Do not wait on this one. Passports are easy and relatively inexpensive to obtain. If you start now, you will have your passport in time for the project.
Please have all adults 18 years and over in your group sign the releasde form and return it to us via e-mail transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org or U.S. mail in care of Ralph Pew, 1744 South Val Vista Drive, Suite 217, Mesa, AZ 85204. Parents should also sign one Consent and Release form listing all minor children.
FOOD AND WATER
Each family is responsible for their own food and water. There are plenty of Mexican taco stands and other places to eat and snack for lunch each day. The work sites are about 15 minutes from the Las Palomas Resort on Sandy Beach. Three grocery stores are close by. Families can make their own dinners or many families enjoy going out to dinner and experiencing the quaint authentic Mexican restaurants in Rocky Point. You will want to bring drinks, water and snacks to the job site for your family each day. Please don’t worry about bringing water across the border. There is a Sam’s Club, Walmart and grocery store nearby that sell bottled water.
Here are some ideas of places to eat in Rocky Point:
- Don Julio’s: Traditional Mexican food. It is in the old Hacienda Las Fuentes location.
- Mare Blu: Italian food, along with steak and seafood, located at the reef.
- Mary’s Seafood: Casual, located on the Malecon.
- Lukas Chicken: Casual, inexpensive, always good.
- Tacos Las Brissas: Great tacos and papa rellenos. Inexpensive and good.
- Xochitl’s: Great breakfasts and tortilla soup, located at Choya Bay.
- Rosy’s: Reasonable for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, located at corner of Constitution and No-reelection.
- Flavios: Mexican food, located on the Malecon.
- Street hot dogs: Look for the “chili dogo”, the “sonora dog” – the bacon wrapped dog with Pico, lime or jalapeno mayo.
- Friendly Dolphin: Mexican food with great old Mexico décor, located on the Malecon.
- Ramon’s: Mexican food.
- Fresh street tamales and tortillas can be found around the corner from Rosy’s on Constitution
For the convenience of all volunteers, there are gas stations/convenience stores within short driving distances from the job sites that have bathrooms. We will also have a couple of porta pottys on the site.
The Fiesta is typically Thursday or Friday evening. The location may vary and we will keep you informed as to where. The cost will be between $10 to $15 per person. There will be food, live music, dancing and lots of fun. This Fiesta is always the highlight of the week providing a chance to mingle with fellow volunteers, enjoy good food and music. We will need to get a commitment and collect the money from those who will attend the Fiesta when the morning to start the project. This way, we will make sure that there is enough money to buy the food and pay for the mariachi band.
Prior to commencing work, we will all meet together for a short devotional, safety instructions and work crew assignments.