Many people have the custom of giving to organizations or those less fortunate when they travel. With this in mind we are passing on a list of places you might want to consider when you are thinking about where to offer your charity. You can make one-time donations or become regular donors. Many of these organizations also have opportunities for volunteers.

Maya community support
Hacienda Chichén has three projects going on that support the Maya children, families and community needs in villages close to Chichén Itzá.

They work with Yucatán Adventure, a volunteer website dedicated to helping out. You can help them continue their Children’s Malnutrition Prevention Program at the Xcalacoop Health Center by pledging food donations, clothing donations, or by placing a one-time sponsor fee spot ad in their social volunteer website They recently purchased and installed new state-of-the-art, eco-friendly septic systems for the children’s bathrooms at the Xcalacoop primary school.

Chichén Services and Yaxkin Spa at Hacienda Chichén have joined efforts to support the Yodzonot Cenote and Eco-Park Community project that a small group of local Maya women have organized with utmost care and personal commitment. They continue promoting online news and articles of these women’s eco-park, their efforts and dedication to make it happen. This is a true story of faith, determination and hope. For more information please contact:
[email protected]

Scholarship Programs For Children in Progreso
In Progreso, there is a fantastic program, Progreso Apoyo (help/support), which helps keep kids in public schools who otherwise would not be able to pay for their studies. School is free, but all students need uniforms (skirts/pants, blouses/shirts, socks, shoes), backpacks, and all their school supplies. The money received from each child’s specific sponsor is used for the shopping. Each sponsor gets photos and thank you letters from their sponsored children. The program also accepts one time gifts of money which goes into a general fund, which is available for any child who exceeds his apoyo limit. The program began in 2002 and the number of sponsored kids is growing every year. Students must have an 8 grade average (on a scale of 1 – 10, 8 is like a B.) For more info contact: [email protected]

Scholarship Programs For Children in Cholul
In Cholul, there is a program called “educaTE Yucatan” Contact: [email protected]

Scholarship Programs For Children in Telchac Puerto
In Telchac Puerto, there is a program where the kids get their backpacks, school supplies and uniforms. School supplies include lined, unlined and squares notebooks, lead and colored pencils, red, blue and black pens, white-out, a calculator, a ream of bond paper, a geometry set, glue sticks, scissors, modeling clay, etc. Contact: [email protected]

Food Bank
The Chicxulub Food Bank began operating in November 2005 to respond to an identified need in Chicxulub. In the village of Chicxulub (pop. 6,000) the main industry is fishing, work that is at the mercy of the weather, where between the hurricane and the norte seasons the port often is closed so there is no opportunity to go out fishing; no fishing, no money. There are also elderly people who rely on their children to care for them. For this project a family can mean a single mom with children, an elderly person living alone, families with the usual complement of people and anyone in need. On the 15th of every month these families receive a despensa/food bag that contains beans 900 gms, rice 900 gms, oil 500 ml, sugar 900 gms, cookies 500 gms, detergent 500 gms, powdered milk 2 liters, sopa (pasta) 400 gms, and salt 250 gms. You can help by adopting a family for one year (cost is $600 pesos per family at the current despensa distribution of once per month), and donating shoes, jeans, school supplies, and blankets. Contact Chix Food Bank Tel. (969) 934-0558.
Email: [email protected] Website:

Save the Children
Save the Children is an international organization with presence in more than 120 countries, working to defend children’s rights. Their work contributes to the integral development of girls, boys, and teens, with focus on the most vulnerable social groups, so that they obtain, in thier formative years, the knowledge, habits, and understanding of their rights, as well as ethical values to lead them into productive, self sufficient lives. They have projects in four towns of Yucatan with attention to more than 5300 children. They are always looking for volunteers to help them with their important work. Mission: inspire advances in how the world treats children, and achieve immediate and long-lasting change in their lives. Vision:a world where each child has the right to survival, protection, development, and participation. Save the Children Yucatán, Calle 25 No. 198A x 16 y 18 Colonia García Ginerés, Mérida. Tel. 999 920 5533. Web: Facebook: Save the Children en Yucatán. Twitter: @MIDsavechildren. Make a tax-deductible monthly donation on your credit card. HSBC account number 4042165936.

The mission of Brazos Abiertos (Open Arms) is to empower the people of Yucatán to respond to AIDS. They are accomplishing this mission by understanding the extent and impact of the HIV pandemic in Yucatán, educating the local communities about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in culturally-relevant ways, decreasing the transmission of HIV and other STIs in the Yucatán, and improving access to health care and the overall quality of life for those people already living with HIV. The organization does HIV detections and rapid testing at the villages and in Mérida targeting the youth and people at risk. They are also offering personalized, free, confidential and anonymous counseling and following up with clients.

Brazos Abiertos is always in need of volunteers to help implement their programs. They would be grateful for:

• Bilingual persons for adult education programs

• Bilingual persons for youth education programs

• Persons to assist with HIV testing and counseling
• English and Spanish translators
• Event volunteers
• Administrative support volunteers
• Clinic volunteers
• Food donations and distribution for persons affected by HIV
They are also in need of finding donors who could possibly help out in the renovation of their facility at Calle 72 x 53 y 55 next door to the Health Department. Contact Dr. Carlos Cabrera [email protected]  Cell phone (999) 292 8436 Website
Medical Prevention and Assistance
A private non-profit aid institution, Fundación K’inich Ajaw I.A.P. was formed in 2013 to help low-income people in vulnerable situations, with various programs aimed at decreasing various illnesses which are prevalent, as well as promote PREVENTION, EDUCATION, NUTRITION. The idea is to promote awareness, educate, and assist vulnerable people. With your donations and volunteer assistance, we will be able to prevent and diagnose  breast cancer with our mobile medical unit equipped with mastography equipment. Immediate analysis will be provided for this and other illnesses. Calle 10 #251 Col. Vista Alegre, Merida, Tel. 999 196 1013. Toll free (01 800) 841 8213.
Artistas de La Playa
“Artistas de La Playa” is a group of artists who have joined together to make a difference in the beach villages of Chuburna and Chelem by offering free art classes once a week in each village. They focus on making art out of recycled items that are donated to us by the community. They have about 35 children in each village. Please donate your cardboard, plastic, ribbons, buttons, cloth etc. They enjoy new art supplies too! Cel. 9991 44 47 92, Ginnie Laroi.

In Mérida, one of the most effective animal rescue and shelter operations is AFAD, Albergue Franciscano del Animal Desprotegido AC. This non-profit organization was created in 1994. Sustained only through donations and volunteer work, AFAD works to improve the situation of animals by rescuing animals in danger, investigating allegations of abuse, offering an adoption service for rescued cats and dogs, and creating education programs and services about animal treatment, sterilization, etc. Tel. 920 5019. Visit their website at Email: [email protected]

EVOLUCIÓN is a sanctuary for abandoned, abused and neglected dogs located just south of Mérida, Yucatan on the road to Uman. They are home to more than 140 dogs and cats who are in need of loving homes. They have many, many wonderful dogs (and sometimes kittens) available for adoption, so before you buy, consider adopting. Evolución is a small, not-for-profit organization consisting of founder Silvia Cortes and a handful of volunteers. They receive no government assistance, and the sanctuary exists only through the kindness of individuals who care for the welfare of these animals. While Evolución exists as a shelter and sanctuary for unwanted animals, their focus is primarily on education. They promote spay/neuter clinics and community outreach programs, as well as anti-violence and environmental awareness campaigns. Tel. Silvia – 9991-93-06-28 (Spanish or English). Email: [email protected] Web: Click here to see their pet adoption of the week.

In Progreso, the organization Protección de Perros y Gatos de Progreso has completed the construction of their clinic near Rancho San Pedro in Chicxulub. With support from the City of Progreso, and donations from the public, their policy is to carry out sterilization campaigns for stray animals ONLY, or for those people who are on the very lowest socio-economic rung. This policy means that the street dogs require rounding up, cleaning up (and often fattening up) at least a week before surgery, transport to and from the clinic and another week of post-surgical care before being returned to their communities or, for the lucky few, being adopted. Donations will always be needed for the surgeries and other ongoing costs. They estimate the average cost of materials to sterilize an animal at 400 pesos (anesthesia and antibiotics are expensive), thus, your US$32 donation will neuter one dog or cat and prevent hundreds more from ever being born into lives of misery and suffering. The organization’s president, Veterinarian Beatriz Carvajal, generously performs sterilizations and provides other medical services to many strays. Many of the volunteers not only round up strays, but also care for them before and after surgery, and help to place the rescued animals in new homes. Their dream is coming true of a low cost community animal clinic to serve Progreso and the surrounding beach communities. If you want to help, you can mail your US or Mexican check, payable to Protección de Perros y Gatos A.C., to Apartado Postal 30, Progreso, 97320, Yucatán, Mexico. Email:  [email protected]
The Greening of Mérida
Mérida Verde is an organization founded to work with others to promote greater sustainability in all aspects of life in Mérida.  This is a completely volunteer group comprised of both Mexican and expat members, young and old. 
Their programs address the following objectives:

1. Raise awareness of the need for a greater focus on sustainable policies and practices at all levels-governmental, corporate, civic, and individual.
2. Provide guidance, tips, tools, and examples of sustainable policies and practices.
3. Collaborate with representatives from communities, government, and schools to solicit their help in achieving a more sustainable Greater Mérida.
4. Promote lifestyle changes. College interns, visitors from the north, and other non-full time Meridanos have made significant contributions to their many programs and are always greatly appreciated and welcomed.  Current programs include showing the global warming film An Inconvenient Truth (shortened and with our Spanish sound track) to as many people as possible, followed by discussions of the implications for Mérida and possible solutions.  They are also working to promote recycling, cycling, composting, and alternative energies; reduce plastic bag use, illegal trash burning, and Dengue Fever; and introduce new programs like LEED to foster more sustainable building practices. They are mindful that a more sustainable Mérida also requires more significant actions like changes in land use patterns, public transportation improvements, and greater environmental regulation and enforcement, and are cultivating the relationships that will eventually make this possible.
[email protected]

Old Age Home
We’d like to introduce you to a home for the elderly in Progreso, which would welcome your helping hands and your generosity. The official name is Albergue del Anciano en Progreso, A.C., but it is commonly known as Albergue de Ancianos San Joaquín. Presently there are 55 residents. These elderly people are folks who are, for the most part, healthy when they enter, but who cannot take care of themselves any longer. Their families, for whatever reasons, cannot or will not help them; although many of the residents simply have no family at all. Although the home is located in Progreso, most of the residents are from Mérida or the interior of the state. Most have been brought to the shelter by someone, but there are also cases where the person was found in a desperate state of need. They have an agreement with O’Horan hospital in Mérida for when health issues require hospitalization. Between Progreso & Chicxulub, beside Prepa México. Tel. (969) 935 1209. Presidente del Patronato: José Icaza Chavez. Email: [email protected] Tel: (999) 948 3060

Pronatura Península de Yucatán focuses on conservation of important ecosystems on the Yucatán peninsula and with threatened species, some in danger of extinction, for example: jaguars, sea turtles and whale sharks. In its mission to preserve the flora, fauna, and at-risk ecosystems of the Peninsula, this group works closely with local communities.  Web:   Email: [email protected] Tel. 999 988 4436, Calle 32 No. 269 x 47 y 47a Col. Pinzón II, Mérida. 

Tumakat Danza Contemporánea A.C. is a nonprofit that aims to promote, disseminate and publicize contemporary dance as an art and its professionalism in the region and its projection in the rest of the country and abroad through the creation, production and dissemination of choreographic works, teaching and training and the promotion of cultural and artistic exchange. Despite being a young organization, the high level that it represents and its commitment to dance has enabled them to appear in forums and festivals in the country and joining in the efforts to disseminate the professionalization of dance in Yucatan and Mexico. They also have an artist residency program and provide community workshops and body language classes for kids. Due to the artistic nature and status as a non-profit organization, participation and support from the community is essential to ensure success and continuity of its activities. For more information: [email protected] or at the studio: Calle 51 # 475 A x 54 y 52, Centro, Tel. 999 271 3311.

If you have an organization you would like to promote on this web page please let us know, we want to spread the word!

We also want to thank all the travelers who have contacted us asking “what is needed in the Yucatán” so that they can bring it along on their trip…



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