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Christmas 2011: Email 3

20 Dec

Dear Volunteers,

We ( Ralph and Jared) have just completed the last three days of preparation in Puerto Peñasco. We inspected the two foundations on the east side of town, placed orders for block and lumber and confirmed that we have the necessary tools and equipment for our week long project. We also met with our book keeper, assessed costs to date and available funds, as well as our volunteer man power.  We also made some decisions, and would like to get everyone up to speed.

1. Number of Houses and Volunteers.  Based on the number of volunteers, and so that everyone can participate and have a great experience, we have added a third house project on the west side of town. We have enough money to complete two of the houses and a portion of the third. This was a tough decision but we feel it is necessary so that everyone can have room to work. We usually like to have about 40 people per house. Two of the houses are right next to each other on the east side of town. The following link shows the location:,-113.502528%20%28Puerto%20Penasco%20SO,%20Mexico%29

This link is for the house on the west side of town:,-113.546645%20%28Puerto%20Penasco%20SO,%20Mexico%29

Bottom line is this, all volunteers will be needed. All equipment will be utilized, we will do our best to balance everything between the two sites. We plan to have 80 people on the site with two houses and 40 people on the other. That being said, if you know anyone who can still donate or if you get down here and feel even more excited about the project, more donations are always needed.

2. Equipment.  We mentioned in the last email, equipment that was needed. Those of you who were planning to bring or donate a ladder or wheelbarrow, please do so. However, please don’t go buy one of those things this week as a Christmas Gift for your spouse because you think we need one.  We should be fine. Everything else requested in the last email is the same.

3. Fiesta.  The group party “Fiesta” is scheduled for Wednesday December the 28th at the Mi Familia Restaurant at the Reef. (upstairs from Mare Blu).  Here is the link for the location:,-113.602692 The cost will be $10 per person. This will include dinner and the mariachi band. Please get your money to Ralph or Jared Tuesday morning, or as soon after that meeting as possible so that we can have an accurate count and can make arrangements for the food.

4. Opening Meeting.  The opening meeting will be at the LDS church in Puerto Peñasco on Tuesday the 27th at 8:00am. The church  is located just north and across the street from the large red telecommunication tower which is east of the main road.,-113.537583%20%28Carretera%20Sonoyta-Puerto%20Pe%C3%B1asco,%20Puerto%20Penasco%20SO,%20Mexico%29 If you are concerned about finding the church, a group of volunteers will be departing the Las Palomas entry gate about 7:45-7:50 to go to the meeting.  It is important to attend this meeting.  We will have a short devotional, instructions about safety, make assignments to the  houses, designate the construction leader for each house and meet the recipient families.  We need a piano player that morning so please don’t hesitate to volunteer your talent.

5. Weather.  This past weekend the weather was beautiful for two days with a high of 66. The third day it rained hard, and was unusually cool. Please prepare accordingly.

6. Group Travel.  For those wishing to join the caravan from Phoenix on Monday, December 26, 2011, to cross the border and travel with a group to Rocky Point, we are meeting in the parking lot of Walmart just behind the In-N-Out Burger at the northeast corner of I-10 and Dysart at 11 a.m. See the following link:,-112.339340 We will leave shortly thereafter.

7. Insurance. We strongly urge you to purchase your Mexican vehicle insurance online before you leave.  If we have to wait for everyone to buy insurance in Ajo, It will significantly delay our approval in Rocky Point.

8. Prior E-Mails. Please reread the prior e-mail and take the time this week to make sure you have the gloves, safety glasses and miscellaneous items we asked you to bring with you for the project.

We are anticipating a fabulous year.  You will make new and lasting friendships and discover the joy of the Christmas season serving other.

See you all soon.

W. Ralph Pew

480-461-4670 (office)

602-432-2329 (mobile)

[email protected]

T. Jared Parker


[email protected]

Christmas 2011: 7 days to go – Foundations are Ready

19 Dec

Christmas 2011: Email 2

19 Dec

December 5, 2011

To All Friends and Volunteers:

Thanks to many of you, the 2011 Christmas house building project is well under way.  Two weeks ago, Jared and I went to Rocky Point to get things started for this year.  We determined that the lot we have is large enough to build two houses on it and we received enough early financial contributions to pay for the foundations and septic systems to be constructed.  This work has been done and should be finished by mid-December.  The lot is located about one mile east of Boulevard Dominquez;.   We have also met with the two families that will be the recipients of the houses Sergio Lopez and Abraham Martinez.

If you would like us to send you a contact containing the site location that you can save to you smart phone, just Text Jared at 801-860-8686 with your name and  the message “please text me the contact with the attached site”  and we will text it back to you, or try clicking on this URL.,-113.502528%20%28Puerto%20Penasco%20SO,%20Mexico%29


As of today, we have received actual donations in the amount of approximately $31,000.  Based on this contribution amount and having confidence that the rest of you will make your contributions soon, we have committed to building two (2) houses this year.  This means we need to raise at least $20,000 more within the next couple of weeks. If you haven’t already done so, please mail your contribution check toFHF MEXICO, INC., and mail it to Ralph Pew, 1744 South Val Vista Drive, Suite 217, Mesa, AZ  85204.


As of today, we have received confirmation from 16 families that they will be in Rocky Point between Christmas and New Year’s to work on the houses.  Of these families, there will be approximately 65 volunteers available for work.  We will need about 85 volunteer workers each day from December 27thto December 31st in order to complete the two (2) new houses.  Accordingly to the e-mails we have received, the following families have confirmed their participation in the project this year:  Barnes, Brady, Bishoff, Dalton, Fackrel, Finlayson, Hafen, Jacobson, Lake, Nyland, Parker, Parrish, Pew, Porter, Price and Scoresby.  If this information is inaccurate and you are committed to be in Rocky Point, please e-mail me as soon as possible.  We have two (2) families that are tentative commitments:  McAllister and Sobotka.


The weather between Christmas and New Year’s 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.  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.


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 24-inch levels.
  • ·       One roofing wacker-tacker with two 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 are also in need of a few larger items:

  • ·       Wheelbarrows with solid tires
  • ·       6-foot step ladders

Please contact either Ralph or Jared and let us know if you can obtain or donate any of these larger items (used would be fine).  If you cannot transport them to Rocky Point, we have trucks and trailers coming down that can carry the items.  Jared and Ralph are making another trip to Rocky Point Thursday afternoon, December 15th, and could transport these larger items if you can deliver them to Ralph’s house before then (1757 East Indigo Street, Mesa, AZ  85203).


We have arranged for discounted “owner” rates at the Las Palomas Golf and Beach Resort.  If you have not already made your housing arrangements, please contact Jared Parker or you can call Ivan in reservations at Las Palomas direct. (+52 (638) 108 1000). Tell him you are with the Parker Pew group that is building the Christmas houses, and that you want to book your room at the “owners rates”. Ocean view are less than ocean front.


Each family is responsible for their own food and water.  There are lots of Mexican taco stands and other places to eat and snack for lunch located near the site.  The work site is about 15 minutes from the Las Palomas Resort and the RV park 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.


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.
  • ·        Taco Brissa:                Great tacos and papa rellenos.  Inexpensive and good.
  • ·        Xochitl’s:                      Great breakfasts and tortilla soup, located at Choya Bay.
  • ·        Rossi’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” or 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 cooked Chef Ramon.
  • ·        Fresh street tamales and tortillas can be found around the corner from Rossi’s on Constitution


For the convenience of all volunteers, there are gas stations/convenience stores within short driving distance from the job site that have bathrooms.


The Fiesta is going to be Wednesday evening, December 28th.  We are finalizing plans for the location.  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 we meet on Tuesday 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.


Tee shirt orders will be finalized December 10th. The shirts are long sleeve tees and are $15 each.  Contact Jared Parker for any other questions you have about tee shirts. We can get youth and adult sizes.


Prior to commencing work on Tuesday, December 27th, we will all meet together for a short devotional, safety instructions and work crew assignments.  We will meet at 8 a.m. at the LDS church building in downtown Rocky Point.  The building is located directly north of the cell tower for the phone company in downtown Rocky Point.

We will keep you notified of further information as it becomes available.

Thanks to all.

W. Ralph Pew

480-461-4670 (office)

602-432-2329 (mobile)

[email protected]

T. Jared Parker


[email protected]

Christmas 2011: Email 1

14 Oct



To All Friends and Volunteers:

Thank you to everyone that volunteered labor and donated money in the FHF homebuilding over the past several years in Puerto Peñasco. It has been an incredible effort by committed volunteers. Great works have been accomplished and lasting friendships created. We are essentially starting this year’s project with a zero cash balance. Consequently, fund raising is the most critical priority. We are pleased to announce three (3) important items of information:

1. All the houses that have been built over the past several years are now completely finished.

2. We have filed all the legal documents necessary to form a new non-profit tax-exempt corporation known as “FHF Mexico, Inc.”

3. By the end of October, our Mexican non-profit corporation known as “Casas Perpetuales” will be formed and this Mexican corporation will hold legal title to the houses until final disposition is determined.


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 eight (8) 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.

2011 Christmas Project!

This year, if we receive $85,000 in contributions and 80-90 (5-day) commitments for volunteer labor, we can build two (2) new houses and complete the shell framework of a home that can be used in the interim for storage purposes.

To insure a successful effort, we want 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 the number of volunteers and amount of financial contributions we can expect.

To buy the land and build one house requires approximately $32,000 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 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 2011

November 1, 2011

Please let us know by November 1, 2011, four important items:

1. How many workers you will have in Mexico;
2. When you will arrive;
3. How long you will stay; and
4. The amount of money you will contribute.

A good suggestion would be $1,000 per person or $3,500 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. There are absolutely no administrative costs expended from your donations and FHF Mexico, Inc. The number of houses we build is determined by the amount of money raised. Please consider donating money or accommodations even if you are unable to physically be in Rocky Point this year.

In the past, some individuals have sent out letters to family and friends soliciting contributions and others have created fund raising projects. Many have made contributions by donating what they would have spent on Christmas and making the financial contribution and labor their Christmas gift to others.

We are ready to begin purchasing materials and contracting for the foundation and septic work to be completed. Please don’t wait until the last minute to donate or commit to help because this makes it very difficult for us to coordinate the work of the project. This year Jared and I would like to have all the money contributed and in the bank account by November 15, 2011. We will then go to Rocky Point and purchase all the building supplies and materials and store them for the project so that we will not have to scramble every day during the work project to make sure we have materials and equipment to work with.

Please send your financial contributions for the house building project as close to November 1, 2011 as you can. Checks should be made payable to “FHF Mexico, 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 Because we have recently formed a new Arizona non-profit corporation known as FHF Mexico, Inc., your donation may be tax deductible. We are working on processing the qualified exemption application with the IRS and, while we await final determination from the IRS, there is a remote chance that the IRS may not grant us tax-exempt status. WE have been advised that it is extremely unlikely that this will happen, but the risk does exist. We will keep your information on file and provide you with our IRS determination letter (501(c)(3) status) when received.

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] and mail your check for the shirts to his address above. The price is $15 per shirt. Once again, don’t wait. If you want the shirts, please order and pay for them now.

November 15, 2011

At this time, we will determine the total donations received and the number of volunteers committed and, based on this information, enter into a contract with a local concrete contractor to prepare the footings, foundations and septic prior to our arrival at Christmas. Material orders will also be placed at this time for block and framing supplies. Unlike in years past, this year we will not make commitments and sign contracts for materials and preliminary work based on the hope that financial contributions will ultimately come in. We will only make these commitments based on the funds we actually have as of November 15, 2011. Those individuals that respond and commit to work and that have made a financial contribution will receive a follow-up e-mail informing them of the other groups traveling to Puerto Peñasco along with travel plans so those that want to can organize themselves and travel in groups. This follow-up e-mail will also include a list of small tools and other items individuals can bring for working and to donate for use in future years along with any last minute information.

December 25, 2011, Sunday, Christmas

Volunteers will begin arriving in Rocky Point on Christmas Day and Monday, December 26th.

December 27, 2011 Tuesday

Construction will begin on Tuesday, December 27th and continue through Saturday, December 31, 2011. Work starts at about 8 am each day and goes until around 4:30 p.m. We will all meet together Tuesday, December 27th, at 8 a.m. in the LDS Church building in Rocky Point for work project assignments and safety instructions. The follow-up e-mail will contain directions to the church building.

December 28, 2011 Wednesday

“Welcome Party” and get to know you fiesta beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the La Familia restaurant. Our follow-up e-mail will provide directions. The food is always great, we will have a lot of fun and there will be a live mariachi band with dancing.
We estimate that the cost for the food and entertainment will be $15-$20 per person. It would be very convenient and helpful in buying the food and paying for the band if those of you that want to attend the “Welcome Party” could let us know how many people from your group will be attending the party and bring cash for payment to our kick-off meeting on Tuesday morning, December 27, 2011.

December 31, 2011 Saturday

Depending on the interest and remaining energy, we could plan a New Years Eve Party? We’ll gauge interest in this as the week progresses.


Volunteers typically secure accommodations in beach front homes in Las Conchas, Cholla Bay or in one of the resort condominium projects along Sandy Beach. In the past, it has been very fun to have as many volunteers stay in one location as possible. Generally, most volunteers have been very pleased with the accommodations at “Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort.” The website for Las Palomas is [email protected] and if you want to find other housing options, try This company manages homes and condos in Rocky Point. For those that want to stay at Las Palomas, please indicate that when you notify us by November 1, 2011 of your intent to participate in the project and contact Jared Parker at [email protected] and (801) 860-8686 and he will coordinate with Las Palomas a group rate.

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 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 season. 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 (financially, 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 2011.

If you have any questions, please call or e-mail us.

W. Ralph Pew
480-461-4670 (office)
602-432-2329 (mobile)
[email protected]

T. Jared Parker
[email protected]

Christmas Project 2010: Day 1

28 Dec

We had about a hundred people on three projects. The two new houses and the carrillo house. The roof on the Carrillo house is about half done. The two new ones are up about 7 rows of block. We should finish blocking tomorrow. Everyone is safe and having a great time. The weather was a perfect 70 degrees. We meet for an hour to get oriented and the worked from 9 to 5 . We have an incredible group.

Christmas 2010: Email sent Dec. 23

26 Dec



Final Details and Information

Dear Volunteers and Contributors:

Thank you for your generous financial contributions and agreement to participate in the project this year. Because of your generosity and prompt delivery of financial contributions and, based on commitments that have been made, we will achieve our fund-raising goal and have enough funds to complete the two (2) houses along with other projects that will be listed below. Thank you. You have all done a great job.


Two New Houses: The floors have been poured, the septic systems have been built and the corner blocks will be put in place so that we can begin construction promptly Monday morning.

Carillo House: The masonry on the Carillo house has been finished and we will have a crew there to frame the interior, put the roof on and install doors and windows.

Michiua House: The Michiua house is ready for a roof, interior framing, doors and windows.

Meza House: The Meza house has been completed with paint, finish electrical and plumbing.

Paulina House: The Paulina house has been completed with paint, finish electrical and plumbing.

Lopez/Gomez: We delivered $1,800 worth of lumber to this family and they have built a roof on the new home that has been constructed after their house burned a few weeks ago.


For those who are leaving the Phoenix area on Sunday, December 26th, there are families that want to caravan together and travel as a group. Several families will be flying in from Salt Lake City and obtaining rental cars and a few families from the Mesa area want to travel together. The best way to make this happen is for everyone to meet on the fringe of the Walmart Supercenter parking lot located at the northeast corner of Dysart Road and the I-10 Freeway. Those arriving from Salt Lake will have time to pick up their rental cars, drive to this area and pick up whatever food supplies they need at Walmart and maybe even a bite to eat for lunch at the In-N-Out Burger. Those coming from the Mesa area or anywhere east of Dysart would travel west on the I-10 as if you were going to California and exit the I-10 at Dysart. On the northeast corner of Dysart and the freeway, is an In-N-Out Burger and just east of that is the Walmart Supercenter. We will meet in the fringe area of the parking lot at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 26, 2010. By this time, the folks from Salt Lake will have had time to pick up what they need and, if we are all there together at 1:30 p.m., we can then travel west on the 10 to the 85 and the south on the 85 all the way to Lukeville. If you have any questions about the time or the location for the meeting to join the caravan, please call Ralph Pew at 602-432-2329. If we all travel together, we can cross the border together later that afternoon and arrive in Rocky Point together as a group. Prior to leaving the Dysart and I-10 area, we will discuss procedures for crossing the border at Lukeville.


We will begin our project with an organizational and devotional meeting at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 27, 2010. The meeting will be held in the conference center assembly room on the second floor of the convention building in Phase II of the Las Palomas Resort. For those of you staying at Las Palomas, this on the second floor just above the lobby where you will be checking in to make your room arrangements. For everyone’s benefit, attached to this e-mail is a map of Rocky Point that shows very clearly how to find your way to the Las Palomas Resort and to the project site. As you can see from the map, Boulevard Benito Juarez is the main boulevard coming in and out of Rocky Point. If you are going south into Rocky Point, turn right on the second signalized intersection and that road will cross the railroad tracks and then come to a round-about. Follow that round-about around the golf course and you can then easily follow the signs to the Las Palomas Resort. If you are coming from the Las Conchas area or anywhere east of Benito Juarez, you can take Boulevard Fremont to the main road and then turn left on Calle 13 and go the back way into the resort area. Tell the security staff at the gate that you are attending the meeting in Phase II. After passing the gate, stay to the right and go to the Phase II lobby, then up the stairs to the second floor assembly room. If any of you have questions as to how to find the Las Palomas Resort for attending this meeting, please call Ralph Pew at 602-432-2329. We are meeting at the Las Palomas convention assembly room because it is close to the project site and because the LDS building in downtown Rocky Point will be undergoing some remodeling at the time. Please be on time to this orientation meeting so that we can begin work on the site between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday morning.


The two (2) new houses will be built in the small neighborhood just north of what many call the “cardboard mall.” This is the tourist commercial area on the road to Cholla Bay. The project site is shown in red on the attached map and is located just west of the railroad tracks at the far north end of this neighborhood. Just turn north on any one of the first three streets west of the tracks and drive to the end of whichever small neighborhood street you are on and you will see the project. Those working on the Carillo and Michiua houses will be given separate instructions at the meeting on Monday morning.


We now have enough commitments for ladders and wheelbarrows from those who have e-mailed us to let us know that they can bring them. If you have not told us that you can bring wheelbarrows and ladders, please do not worry about that. We will have enough on site because we purchased a few new ladders and Julio is purchasing used wheelbarrows in Rocky Point so that we should have enough for the project. There is also no need to bring additional buckets. We have plenty of buckets on site.


Another reminder: If you are traveling through the Phoenix area, please call Ralph Pew at 602-432-2329 to make arrangements to pick up a 5-gallon bucket of paint. If everyone takes a bucket of paint to Rocky Point, we will be able to deliver the (25) 5-gallon buckets that are in Ralph’s backyard.


The t-shirts have been ordered and delivered and Jared Parker will have them available in Rocky Point. Unfortunately, the final cost for the t-shirts was $2.50 more per shirt than estimated. If you have ordered t-shirts, please find Jared Parker during the project and pay him the difference in the t-shirt cost.


We are planning a fun family evening on Tuesday, December 28th. There will be authentic Mexican food, along with a live mariachi band and lots of fun getting to know everyone on the project and enjoying the evening together. We are still working on a location for the Fiesta because of the unavailability of the church building and we will let everyone know either Monday or Tuesday during the project where the Fiesta will be. Please plan on attending. This is a wonderful time to be together and to meet friends from other parts of the country and to enjoy a very pleasant evening with many of the local members of the LDS church that will be preparing the food for the event.


Thanks to Dr. Bryce Barker and Dr. Rob Price, we will have emergency medical aid available on site.


Please remember to obtain Mexican car insurance before leaving the states. There are plenty of places to purchase this insurance to Ajo or in Why.

Please be cautious and careful in observing the speed limits in the border town of Sonoita. Remember the speed limits are posted in kilometers and, in many instances, it will feel as if you are crawling along at a snail’s pace.

Christmas 2010: Email sent Dec 2, 2010

13 Dec

A must read if you are coming to Mexico this year for the 2010 Project

Dear Volunteers,


We just returned from two days of preparation work in Puerto Penasco.  We are excited to report that we have made arrangements and paid for the foundations and septic systems for two new houses this year.  While we were inspecting the job site of on Tuesday morning, a fire erupted in the neighborhood.  The people in the small wooden structure escaped without injury but the house was destroyed.  We are following up with this family to ascertain their needs and rebuilding their home may be one of our projects.  Information on the families we are helping will be sent later.  We also met the Carrillo Family.  During the last year, another group from Families Helping Families started a home for them but was unable to finish the roof.  We should have enough volunteers to complete the Carrillo home this year along with the other two we will begin at Christmas.  We can always use more help in the construction.


As of Thanksgiving, we had received $25,000 in contributions.  We have paid $12,000 this weekend for the foundations, septic systems, and to get the projects underway.  Based on the financial commitments from all of you, we expect to have enough money to purchase the materials to complete the work on the two homes as well as the Carrillo house.  That is “IF” we receive everyone’s money.  It is very important that each of you send the rest of the contributions in as soon as possible.  Ralph will be going back next week to order and pay for the materials so we will have them onsite when we get there. Please send those checks (and please be generous) so that we will have enough money to finish these projects after our initial construction is completed during the holidays.  Please make checks payable to Families Helping Families, Inc. and send to W. Ralph Pew, 1744 South Val Vista Drive, Suite 217, Mesa, AZ  85204.  We have suggested that each family donate a minimum of $3,500, but more is better.

What to Wear:

The weather this weekend was cool, 60 degrees, and windy. Bring layers of clothing to work in. It will be cool to start, warm in the day, and cool as the sun gets closer to going down. The first three days will be dirty. We will be working with concrete and block and it is 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, and they are inexpensive. Please bring safety glasses. 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. Even though it may be cool, the sun can still burn. Please make certain you have sunscreen.


We inventoried tools and equipment in Rocky Point this past weekend.  Each family should bring the following items to use and to be donated for future use:

Per family

  • 2 hammers
  • 1  inexpensive plastic 24″ level
  • 1 inexpensive plastic 48″ level
  • 1 roofing wacker tacker with staples
  • 2 two-gallon plastic buckets with a metal handle
  • 1 large and 1 medium diamond shaped mortar brick trowel

We are also in need of some larger items:

  • 6 wheelbarrows with solid tires
  • 6 six-foot step ladders
  • 4 plastic red 3- or 5-gallon gas containers

Please contact either Jared or Ralph and let us know if you can obtain or donate these items used and if you cannot transport them, we have trucks and trailers coming down that can carry the items.


We have arranged for discounted condo rentals at Las Palomas as a group. If you would like to participate in these group rates please email or call Jared Parker with your arrival and departure dates.

The rates are approximately as follows:

1 bedroom is $105 for week nights and $130 for Friday and Saturday.

2 bedroom is $140 for week nights and $165 for Friday and Saturday.

3 bedroom is $190 for week nights and $ 215 for Friday and Saturday.

Food and Water:

Each family is responsible for its own food and water. There are lots of typical Mexican taco stands and other places to eat or snack for lunch located not too far from the site.  The work site is about 7 minutes from the condominiums and the RV park on Sandy Beach.  Two grocery stores are close by.  Families can make their own dinners or many families enjoy going out to dinner and experiencing the restaurants in this shrimping town.  You will want to bring drinks, water and snacks to the job site, for your family, each day.


For the convenience of all participants, there are gas stations/convenience stores within close proximity to the job site. The condos and RV park are also only 7 minutes away.


The party is going to be Tuesday evening Dec 28th.  We are planning to meet at the local LDS meeting house and will cost $10 per person.  There will be food, live music, dancing and lots of fun.

Tee Shirts:

Tee shirts orders will be final December 5th. If you have not ordered your shirt by then, you won’t get it until you return from Mexico.


Prior to commencing work on Monday, December 27th, we will all meet together for a short devotional, safety instructions and work crew assignments.  We will let you know the time and place for this pre-construction meeting soon.

Paint Cans:

We have 25 (five gallon) cans of exterior paint that we need to transport to Rocky Point.  It is much easier and we avoid impact taxes crossing the border with one or two cans of paint per vehicle than having one vehicle or trailer taking all the cans.  If you have room in your vehicle for a couple of cans of paint and you are traveling through the Phoenix/Mesa area on your way to Rocky Point, please take the time to coordinate with Ralph to pick up a few paint cans and transport them to Rocky Point.

Thanks to all.

W. Ralph Pew

480-461-4670 (office)

602-432-2329 (mobile)

[email protected]

T. Jared Parker


[email protected]

Great Fundraiser Event- Costa Vida (Foothill Village and American Fork)

7 Dec

Families Helping Families has teamed up with Costa Vida (Foothill Village and American Fork Locations only) for a Fundraiser.  All you need to do is come and eat Monday December 13th from 5-9pm, and Costa Vida will donate 20% of the proceeds to Families Helping Families.

We have had great success the last two monday nights, and want to thank everyone who has come and support this fabulous fundraiser!!

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.

Rotary Partnership

20 May

Early in 2010 Michael Wells, a dentist from Tooele, Ut, contacted us at Families Helping Families and asked us if we would be interested in taking a small group of high school and Jr. high school students from the Tooele Rotary interact club to Mexico to build a house. Michael’s sister and her family had worked on the Christmas houses the year before. After some discussion, June of 2010 was picked for the first FHF/Rotary interactors trip. Plans were made and all the arrangements were in place. Two days before departure Michael was hospitalized with a serious infection in his hip. Michael and his wife, Karlene, were unable go, but somehow this small group of interactors along with some members of the Jared Parker family and a group of Lauren Parkers friends were able to build a little two bedroom house for Franciso Michiua and his three beautiful children. It was an unusual and memorable experience for all. This small trip started a most wonderful partnership with FHF and Utah Rotary Intenational.

The interactors returned home so excited and energized that, the next year under the direction of a healthy Michael Wells, we were joined by interactors from all over the state of Utah. In 2011, with the help of many volunteers, 65 interactors and 25 leaders raised the money for and built a beautiful 3 bedroom house for the Morales family. Brad Barber, of Brigham City, Utah, assisted in renting a bus for the transportation of the young people to and from Puerto Peñasco Mexico. His Spanish was especially helpful in getting all the volunteers across the boarder.

Having learned much from the two previous years, the 2012 FHF/ Rotary interactors trip was a spectacular effort with a remarkable out come. The 200 youth volunteers, 4 buses, and 50 leaders, combined their efforts to build three beautiful homes, and visited many schools. The volunteers brought with them 3,000 pounds of books for the school libraries, and many shoes for a new safe house for children.

The 2013 rotary trip from June 9th to the 17th promises to be equally exciting. 100 youth on two busse will once again visit schools and contruct a house for a family in need. This year the volunteers will once again visit and give service to elementary schools. They will also participate in furnishing one of the homes that they stated last year and will present it to a wonderful family.