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With My Own Two Hands

8 Oct

Welcome to our new blog. One of Families Helping Families central projects is home building in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. This fun Mexican beach town lies 3 1/2 hours south of Phoenix on the Sea of Cortez. Over the last four years volunteers have raised money for and built 11 homes for good hard working Mexican families. Each year, during the Christmas vacation, a number of families travel to Mexico and block up the walls and frame the roofs of the homes. The plumbing, electrical and interior walls are completed over the next five months.  The families receiving the homes, have to qualify for them and contribute labor to help build them. After the families move in, they contribute back to the foundation each month to help make it a self perpetuating housing fund. Contributions not only give a boost up to good people and their families, but will do it over and over again.
Families helping Families is all volunteer. We do not have a paid staff. Every penny donated goes directly to purchase brick , mortar or other building materials over and over again.

This is just a small video of the work Families Helping Families is doing in Mexico:

We would love to share with you an amazing DVD that Scott Mecham,  put together following this last Christmas in Puerto Penasco. For a $10 donation (and feel free to give more), we will send you a DVD that helps explains the mission, the purpose and the fun that families are having,  helping families in Mexico. We are asking for donations to help finish the 4 houses that were started in December 2008, and are almost finished. We would like the families who have qualified to be able to move in this summer, and we are really close.

For more information about how to become involved with Families Helping Families or to join FHF next Christmas in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, please contact us at [email protected] . And most of all, thank you to everyone who is a current or past participant, or who is a friend of F.H.F. Please post a comment.

Christmas 2009: Email 1

23 Oct

To All Friends and Volunteers:


Thank you to everyone who volunteered donated or helped in the FHF homebuilding over the last year in Puerto Peñasco. It was an incredible effort by committed volunteers. Great works were performed and lasting friendships were created. Not only were all of you fabulous, just about everything went perfect as well. Because of your efforts, four houses were completed this past year, and families and their children’s families will be changed for generations. Thank you, again, to everyone for all you have done.

We are especially grateful to the Cowley and Brown families for their timely and generous financial contribution that allowed us to purchase enough land to build four (4) homes on the east side of town. Thanks to Scott Mecham for sharing some of his talents with us in shooting and producing a 20 min DVD the 2008 Christmas building project. If anyone hasn’t seen it yet please let us know and we will get you one. It is very well done, a lot of fun, and has created a lot of interest in Families Helping Families Christmas housing project.

We are also thankful to Hogan Electric from Salt Lake City for providing the materials for and running the electrical on all four homes. And to “Youth Making a Difference” also from Salt Lake City, and their volunteers who painted all the homes inside and out and provided all the material to do so. These good volunteers along with all of you have made these last four home a reality. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

2009 Christmas Project!

To insure a successful effort again this year, we need to let everyone know the proposed schedule, dates for work and donation goals. At the same time we need to find out from all of you, who is coming and how much you will be able to donate.

To build one house requires approximately $25,000 and 1200 volunteer man/woman hours. That is about 25 to 30 people working full time, for 5 days during the Christmas holiday to block up a home, frame the roof and interior walls, and apply the roofing material. The home is wired by volunteers a couple of weeks later and the balance of the donated money will finish the house over the next couple of months. The sacrifice in time and money made by those participating in the work project is worth every minute and every dollar spent in helping others and experiencing the satisfaction of giving in a tangible way. Many lives have been changed. The families in Mexico have safe and durable housing, and families from the United States make lasting friendships, feel the joy of charity, and experience the true meaning of Christmas.

Important dates and deadlines and other information for 2009

November 1, 2009

Please let us know as close to this date as possible, how many workers you will have in Mexico, when you will arrive, how long you will stay, and the amount of money you can contribute. A good suggestion might be $1,000 per person or $3,000 per family, but any donation of time, money, or accommodations, is very much appreciated. Remember, every penny donated goes directly to purchase material (brick, mortar, windows, etc) for these houses. Absolutely no administrative cost from your donations!!! The number of houses we all build is determined by the amount of money we all raise. Please donate money or accommodations even if you are unable to physically be there.

Please also remember, this is the money that will be used to buy the material, to build the houses. In the past some have sent out letters to family and friends. Some participants have created fund raising projects. And some have just felt better about making their own contribution or donating their Christmas budget to the project. And if you are unable to physically be there this year, please send your money so we can build these houses.

We are ready to begin purchasing materials and setting foundations. Don’t wait until the last minute to donate. We need to have foundations, brick, mortar and wood on site when you and your families arrive.

Please send your financial contribution for the house building project as close to this date as you can. Checks should be made payable to “Families Helping Families, Inc.” and mailed to Ralph Pew, Pew & Lake, PLC, 1744 South Val Vista Drive, Suite 217, Mesa, Arizona 85204. Those of you living in the Salt Lake City area, who would like to, can hand deliver or drop off donations to Jared Parker, 1955 Laird Drive, Salt Lake City, UT, 84108. You will all receive a receipt from Families Helping Families for filing your taxes.

Each year we make a nice, good quality, long sleeve t-shirt for participants. Everyone loves them and wears them proudly. Please e-mail your order and sizes to [email protected]. We expect them to be about the same price this year, about $10 per shirt. Once again, don’t wait. Just order them now.

November 15, 2009

We will assess the donations and the volunteers committed and enter into a contract with a local concrete contractor to prepare the footings and foundations for our arrival at Christmas. Material orders will be placed for block and framing material. Those families who are going to be there, or who have donated, will receive an e-mail informing them of the other families traveling to Puerto Peñasco along with travel plans. This e-mail will also include a list of small tools and other items families can bring to donate or any last minute communication as to location, dates and cost of the Fiesta or New Years Eve Party.

December 25, 2009 Friday, Christmas

Volunteer families will begin arriving anytime during the Christmas holiday

December 28, 2009 Monday

Construction will begin on Monday, December 28th, and then continue through Friday of that week. Work starts at about 8 am each day and goes until around 4:30 p.m. We hope to have enough volunteer families and money to complete four rough shells by the end of the week. Evenings will be free to rest, hot tub, visit the local restaurants, etc.

December 28, 2009 Monday

“Welcome Party” and get to know you fiesta. Around 6:30 p.m. The cost and location will be announced later. Please note, this will take place after the first day of work. The food is always great and we always have a lot of fun.

December 31, 2009 Thursday

Depending on the interest and remaining energy, we could do a New Years Eve Party?


Last year, some participants stayed with friends and in donated condos. A lot of us stayed in the Las Palomas condos at a reduced price. We will be meeting with the Las Palomas management company on the weekend of October 31st to arrange a bulk rental rate. Please e-mail Jared Parker at [email protected] to join in on the bulk rate. These are great accommodations. If anyone receiving this letter is able to donate accommodations, or knows of anyone who would like to donate their condo or house in the area, please let us know.

Passports, ID, or Passport cards

Passports work the best for crossing the border. A passport card is also an option, but can only be used for land crossings. Please check 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.

Come and join us in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico this Christmas Holiday. We personally promise you, it will be a Christmas your whole family will remember. Rick Finlayson summed it up best, after supervising the construction of one of the homes in a previous year.

“I have been reflecting on the experience my family had working with you 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 the gratitude felt for the abilities we have been given 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.”

Please forward this e-mail to friends and family members that may have an interest in participating (economically, physically or both) in the project.

We look forward to your timely responses and to working with you in this great cause, this Christmas of 2009.

If you have any questions e-mail us at [email protected]

Tres Hombres 25th Anniversary Party

27 Jun

Tres Hombres is teaming up with Families Helping Families to benefit the kids and families of Puerto Penasco.

Here are a few ideas of what is needed:

– Hygiene kits: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths, deodorant, razors, etc.
– School and art supplies: crayons, coloring books, paper, etc.
– Soccer balls (non-inflated)
– Educational materials: flash cards, puzzles, and games (Spanish & English)

**Donations are always welcome!
Please make checks payable to Families Helping Families.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected]

See you at the party tonight!