On December 24, Papa Noel will hand out Christmas gifts to 70 children and mamitas living at the Olon Orphanage. The gifts are purchased with money from fundraisers, primarily an October dinner and silent auction held in a nearby town.
Fundraiser host – Arena Guadua Ecolodge Surfcamp
Montanita is a surf and party destination town along the Ecuador coast, hosting international surf competitions and full moon parties throughout the year. Montanita’s Arena Guadua Ecolodge Surfcamp was kind enough to host 2017’s orphanage fundraiser.
Located in the quiet north end of the beach with an open floor plan, Arena Guadua was a great spot for the event.
Volunteers and silent auction
Volunteers obtained donations, sold tickets, made food, served drinks, and worked the event. Local supermarkets, restaurants, artists, hotels, shops, and individuals provided donations for the silent auction. Donations included nights at hotels, hand painted art, quilts, liquor, meals, and massages.
Young Orphanage Kids Orchestra
The highlight of the night was when a group from the orphanage arrived to play for us (along with their music teachers). Many of these kids have been getting piano and guitar lessons for over a year and they sounded great!
See the drum set on the right in the photo above? As soon as they were finished playing, the kids were told that the drum set now belonged to the orphanage and lessons would begin soon!
We won a few auction items
Throughout the night, people checked on the silent auction items and updated their bids. Scott and I won a few auction items – meals at our favorite Puerto Lopez breakfast restaurant (Etnias), nights in a villa at Montanita Estates Hotel, and sharpening for our knives that have dulled with time and use.
More than $8,000 was raised on this fun night of socializing and dancing. Each child at the orphanage will receive a gift bag including toys, shoes, and backpacks. The mamitas, who live on site with the children, will receive items they each need, like new shoes.
Well done, everyone involved with this fundraiser! I am proud to know each of you.
I wrote about last year’s Christmas Eve party at the orphanage here. The kids put on an incredible show that no one in attendance ever forgets.
Click here to read more stories about the Olon orphanage.