Operation Compassion Ministries
By Kay Davis
Tom Music and Rich Bailey were concerned when they learned that children in San Antonio Tlayacapán were going to bed hungry. This was in January 2010, not the best way for these families to start the new year. So on February 1, 2010, the two men opened a “soup kitchen” to anyone who walked in and wanted a meal. They called it Operation Compassion Ministries. Soon afterwards, Rich Bailey died rather suddenly, but Tom had fallen in love with the gentle people who came to the kitchen between the hours of 1:30 and 3:30, and he decided to continue feeding them as long as he could.
When I visited, there was a light crowd of mostly women and children, but some men sat at the back. If they had part time jobs, they felt lucky, but they needed food to go out and do other part time work to pay the bills. They were all clean and courteous, full of smiles despite their hardships. Tom said there is an average of 70 – 80 people per day, 100 on some days – they come, eat, and go – except for a handful of children who play “pick-up” soccer in the back after they’ve eaten. In addition to those who eat at the kitchen, there are another 30 deliveries each day.
Tom had just returned from the Chapala tianguis where he could find fresh food for the soup. The chicken in the vegetable soup came from Tony’s, parts that are hard to sell but still provide nutrition. The cookies were a donation from Marisa’s Bakery. Surtidor donates beans and rice in large sacks. Volunteers deliver the meals to the 30 housebound people.
This day the meal consisted of spaghetti, fresh made vegetable soup with some chicken, and cookies. Sometimes there are cakes or jello rolls, but not this day. It had been a holiday weekend and stock was low.
Tom is a kind man who has visited the homes of some of his regular visitors. He is amazed that people cramped into small spaces can be so polite, clean and happy. They deserve the help he gives them. I asked about donations. He has set up a tax exempt arrangement for American contributors, but at this time, contributions are running about half the costs involved.
Winter is coming. Some clothing might be helpful besides cash for food, so if you can contribute, please contact Thomas Music at cell phone 331-547-2726 or email him at email@example.com.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com