A visit to Hogar de Vida orphanage in the western Central Valley town of Atenas is at once inspiring and heart-wrenching – inspiring because of the obvious love and dedication with which the tías (aunties) and staff care for the children, and heart-wrenching to know that those beautiful children are there as a result of abandonment, abuse or neglect.
While the orphanage receives some financial support from government agencies, it also relies on donations from people like you and me. Our support helps provide clothing, good food, school supplies and myriad other necessities to care for up to 35 children in residence. (For more information, go to www.homesoflife.org or search “We love Hogar de Vida” on Facebook.)
Last February, more than 500 people gave their support to the orphanage by attending the fourth Atenas Chili Cook-off, an annual event founded by Kay and Tom Costello of Atenas. We all had fun tasting the 14 pots of chili and voting for our favorites. Then we basked in the beautiful day, strolling the lovely grounds of Quinta Romavista while munching hot dogs and sipping sodas or cold drinks from the wine and beer garden. We joined in the raffle, listened to live music and enjoyed the company of family, friends and neighbors. At the end of the day, approximately $3,400 had been raised for Hogar de Vida.
Feb. 12 will mark the celebration of the fifth annual Atenas Chili Cook-off. With a projected 25 or more chili teams participating, we will make this the biggest and most successful cook-off yet.
There aren’t many chances to have a fun day eating good food in beautiful surroundings while also making a difference in the lives of some deserving children. So please come out, bring your families and tell your friends. For more information, see www.atenaschilicookoff.com.