Our History

The original fundraising booklet. Buenos Vecinos de Boquete was founded by Boqueteña Sra. Cecilia McIntyre along with a small group of individuals interested in helping provide food to the most needy in the community.  Concern for the elderly with no family support instigated the formation of the “founding mothers” in 2005.  The first recipient, Olivia Velia, passed away in 2012.  The original group referred to themselves as Amigos de Boquete and consisted of 10 volunteers. The first meetings were in restaurants or private homes before utilizing the Handicap Foundation facility.

In 2006, the name was changed to Buenos Vecinos de Boquete  (“Good Neighbors”) with a logo designed by Gina Cronin, one of the original members.  The first funding came from the sale of a booklet about life in Boquete that was compiled by Sylvan Cohen who was organizing the Tuesday Morning Meetings.  Some of the money from the sale of the booklet was designated for the purchase of food for the needy, and requests were made to the meetings’ attendees to contribute food or cash.

pfi-bagsThe group of volunteers utilized their own contacts, as well as consulting the local priest and government representatives for names of people needing assistance.  Some of the early recipients received a cooked lunch each day at local “tipico” restaurant, while others had their lunch prepared by a neighbor, and those capable of preparing their own food received approximately $30.00 worth of dry staples, delivered by members of the organization.  The “Sponsor a Family” appeal has become a good source of income as well as Food Drives in front of Romero’s, Boquete’s downtown supermarket.

volunteers with bagsAs the funding increased, members of the Handicap Foundation became food recipients, and with the economic assistance from a generous expat, the client list expanded.

The charity has evolved over the years to include more individuals and families, varied fund raising efforts, and increased cooperation with the Handicap Foundation. Nonetheless, BVB retains many features of the early years. It continues to operate with a small, dedicated team of volunteers; Food Drives remain an important part of revenue and public awareness; the clientele it serves are still elderly, handicapped or struggling to support handicapped family members. Food remains the focus of this charity’s vital community work.

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