As many of you know, my Mother loved many people. In return, many people loved her. Still do.
What you may not know is that for years my parents wintered in Mazatlan, Mexico. They became very involved in the community and started volunteering with the Tres Islas Orphanage Fund which serves five orphanages in Mazatlan and 123 children. Mom would "mother" the kids, bake for them and braid their hair. Dad would bring his toolbox and make much-needed repairs on the old house where the children lived in Old Town Mazatlan.
We - Lisa too - would always fly down to Mazatlan and spend a few weeks visiting with my parents in the winter, so we were also put to work at the orphanage in Mazatlan (Orfanatorio Mazatlan). I remember taking trips to the Mazatlan Sam's Club and loading the cart with food for the children, taking the kids shoe shopping and once taking the girls bra shopping. (Yes, some of the orphans are teens.) When my Mom walked in the door to the orphanage - a dozen kids came running, all clamoring for her attention. I think Lisa and I were a little jealous!
Upon her death, Mom hoped remembrances would be made to the Tres Islas Orphanage Fund. This group raises funds for five Mexican orphanages. Dave and I have often contributed to the fund and know our donations are used properly and well.
Here is part of the tribute to my Mother, written by Donelle Manton (orphanage fund founder) for the Mazatlan newspaper:
Gloria Geraths – Friend Extraordinaire
Many of you know lovely Gloria Geraths who throughout the 1990s was a constant presence at the orphanages and Donelle’s “right-hand” in every activity. Gloria successfully organized the first “Adopt-a-Child-for Christmas” in Mazatlan that has now grown into each child in every orphanage receiving wonderful Christmas gifts – when before Gloria’s presence – most received very little or nothing at all.
At that time, there were no chocolate chips in Mazatlan. Gloria quickly endeared herself to the children when she brought not only the first homemade cookies they’d ever tasted – but chocolate chip cookies! Each time Gloria brought cookies, some of the children happened to be in school. Without being prompted and on their own, the children at the orphanage counted the cookies, reserving an equal amount for those still in school. For those of you who’ve tasted Gloria’s delicious cookies – that must have been an awfully difficult thing for a child to do and took an exceptional amount of self-discipline to give up even one of Gloria’s cookies! Upon the school children’s arrival, the children present scooped-up the box of cookies and fled to the door, welcoming the others home with the great news about the arrival of Gloria’s cookies.
Gloria also took her spaghetti maker to the orphanage and showed the children how to make spaghetti, then allowing each child to cut their portion as it came out of the machine. Topped with homemade sauce and meatballs, the children ate and ate until their tummies were stuffed. Gloria – and her trusty spaghetti maker – were requested to come back often for a repeat version!
Over the years, Gloria and her good husband Lloyd took the children to purchase needed shoes and always stopped for ice cream on the way back – what a treat for the children! Gloria and Lloyd helped organize the first and helped host many barbecue beach parties for the children from Orfanatorio Mazatlan and Ciudad de los Ninos – over 60 children! And each week, Gloria and Donelle shopped for the children’s food. They were a constant team, dear friends and family in the heart. Those were joyous years in which precious friendships between countries and people – both big and small – were forged that are now forever etched in the memories of our minds and will remain dear to us all.
Gloria Geraths brought love, grace, confidence and success to everything she did on behalf of the children and the Tres Islas Orphanage Fund.
If you wish to honor my Mother, please make a contribution in her memory to:
Tres Islas Orphanage Fund
3717 Monroe Avenue
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
NOTE: "Gloria's Kitchen"
All donations to the Tres Islas Orphanage Fund, classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) exempt public charity, are 100% tax deductible. Their IRS Federal Identification Number is 84-1408725.
For more information:
Phone the Tres Island Orphanage Fund: 1-888-459-8463
Email the Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Fund’s webpage at www.orphanagefunds.org
Until my next update, I remain, your grateful correspondent.