ConGen Tijuana celebrates July Fourth by giving back to local community

Consul General Sue Saarnio (front center) and employees of the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana support Fundación Esperanza de México by building a house during the Day of Service events for the Fourth of July. Photo by Jose Noriega
Consul General Sue Saarnio (front center) and employees of the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana support Fundación Esperanza de México by building a house during the Day of Service events for the Fourth of July. Photo by Jose Noriega

By Angie Gomez Martelli 

In lieu of a traditional Independence Day celebration, the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana organized community service events to support local nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The consulate’s Community Service Committee (CSC) identified three partner organizations for ongoing service projects: the Mexican Red Cross, Fundación Esperanza de México, and Casa Hogar Maria de Inmaculada.

The pandemic significantly reduced the rate of blood donations due to blood banks canceling drives to comply with social distancing guidelines. The Mexican Red Cross, which operates a trauma hospital and provides the only reliable ambulance service in Tijuana, was particularly affected. In response, the consulate community hosted a blood drive where more than 25 donors contributed.

The following day, another group of more than 20 volunteers helped build a house with Fundación Esperanza de México, a Tijuana organization that provides sustainable housing to local communities. The organization relies on labor provided by U.S. volunteers who travel to Baja on service immersion trips—such travel has been suspended for more than a year. The consulate helped lay the foundation of a house alongside the Mexican family who will move into the residence. 

Finally, consulate employees delivered back-to-school donations to Casa Hogar Maria de Inmaculada, a Tijuana orphanage housing more than 50 children. The consulate team plans to visit bi-monthly to mentor the children. 

The Tijuana CSC was founded in March 2021 to facilitate volunteer projects beneficial to diverse and vulnerable populations. Since its inception, CSC has organized several donation drives for orphanages and migrant shelters. Recently, it was awarded a J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust grant of $2,000 to provide personal protective equipment for Nest Norte—a space for migrant children to play while their parents seek legal counsel for asylum.  

Angie Gomez Martelli is the community liaison officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana.

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