By Victor Pinzon –
Friendly hellos and the warm smiles of children greeted Salvation Army volunteers on a recent mission to bring much-needed blankets to the Colonia Rancho Las Flores in Tijuana, Mexico.
With temperatures falling below freezing at night, the cold weather brought death and sadness to many Tijuana families living in makeshift housing. Under the leadership of Auxiliary Captain Samuel Rodriguez, more than 1,000 blankets were distributed to the people of the Colonia, who patiently stood in line to accept the donations and express their gratitude.
“It was sad to see the many families with little children standing in line for blankets. Seeing the drafty shacks they live in and hearing the stories of the miserable cold dramatized the great need of the people and the positive impact of our blanket distribution that day,” says Rosa Maria Acuna, a Salvation Army volunteer who has participated in other relief operations in Mexico.
Rosa Maria’s sentiments were echoed by other volunteers who joined forces with Captain Luis Martinez and his Tijuana-based based helpers. The persistent rain did not dampen the spirit of the volunteers anxious to provide help and share a message of God’s love.
As the Salvation Army truck pulled into the Colonia, the heavy rain of early morning suddenly ceased just in time for the blankets to be distributed to the families who quickly encircled the truck. “I believe the Lord stopped the rain just so we could distribute the blankets without the people getting wet,” says Rodriguez.
Captain Luis Martinez, who sees the faces of poverty every day through his ministry in Tijuana, felt the donations of blankets were a great blessing. “When you have so little, a simple blanket is a great blessing because it provides protection from the cold, and that means saving lives,” says Martinez.