My Frugal Life: Ask And You Shall Receive!

My Frugal LifeI recently became involved in volunteering to teach swimming and surfing at the Ninos de la Promesa Orphanage in TJ, Mexico, about 20 minutes from the border of San Diego, CA. The orphanage is actually a converted hotel, housing boys and girls 5-18 years of age. It sits directly on the coast and happens to have it's own swimming pool (unheated), which at present is roughly 60 degrees! The goal of the "Out of the Boat Swim" program is to help children gain confidence by teaching them to swim and become water safe in the ocean. In some cases the children go on to eventually become Jr. lifeguards and perhaps find gainful employment as beach lifeguards.

On my first visit a few weeks ago, I was surprised that (at 60 degrees warm,) the children were very eager to get into the pool for their swim tests. In addition, I noticed that every one of the children went swimming in their "street clothes." It didn't seem uncommon to also share a small bath-sized towel among 3 or 4 children. Needless to say, when the first child was done using it, the towel was already mighty wet, so by the time child number 3 or 4 got the towel, well, he might have been better off just "air drying!" Their need is great and the "Out if the Boat Swim" program is ongoing, so when I returned to San Diego, I was inspired to find a way to provide the children with the items they needed for a successful swimming experience.

I began by mentioning my desire to help to every and anyone who would listen. Here in the U.S., most children would not be comfortable wearing a used bathing suit, but I knew the children in the orphanage would be thrilled with anything that even closely fit them, so I hoped perhaps some of my friends would be willing to pass on their own children's gently used/outgrown swim suits, rash guards, trunks, goggles, etc. I work in the public school system and sent an email to the head of our department, asking if she might be willing to pass the word along to my fellow workers in the district, asking for donations. Ask and you shall receive!


Wow, the response was fabulous. In the past week or so, I have been fielding emails and texts from people I've never met. I have had people put donation boxes at their children's schools. Some have taken my request to the next level, using it as a learning opportunity for their own children in the benefit of doing for others what they are unable to do for themselves, by going shopping for a new swim suit and towel to give to a child who is going to learn how to swim for the first time this summer. One of my co-workers went out and bought 18 brand new beach towels to donate, another gave a monetary donation, and countless others have sorted through their children's drawers and closets to donate items with a fair amount of life left in them.

One co-worker suggested I approach the local Boys and Girls club to see if they had anything to donate. A short phone call later, I walked away with 5 "hefty" bags containing their entire unclaimed lost and found! I came home, washed everything and sorted it into bags according to age and gender. Another co-worker suggested stopping by garage/yard sales as they are about to close and ask if they would be willing to donate any clothing that went unsold. In almost every case, folks would rather give it to me for a good cause, than tote it to the local Goodwill store. Besides, I am willing to pack up the items I want myself, saving them the effort.


I have come to realize that people are eager and willing to contribute an a million different ways, but we have to be willing to ask. It was a wonderful feeling to send that first batch of swim suits and towels to the orphanage last week, and I look forward to many more trips with a trunk full of donations. Many of the people I have met told me they will continue to save clothes year-round that can be used at the orphanage. One of the schools has even expressed interest in establishing pen-pals with the children. What a wonderful way to bring the children on the U.S. and Mexican border one step closer. I guess the greater lesson here has been how easy (painless) it is to give if you just put it out there and allow people to give from the heart.

By Donna from San Diego, CA

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here:

June 14, 20110 found this helpful

You are truly an Angel to those children. Thank God we have people like you!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
June 16, 20110 found this helpful

They will appreciate these things so much! Blessings to you for being such a blessing to them and I am happy they are learning how to swim!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
June 28, 20110 found this helpful

What a heartwarming story! Yes, most people are willing to give, but it takes an Angel like you to get things going.


ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
June 28, 20110 found this helpful

What a wonderful and gratifying opportunity to help those who need you.

We wish you the best as you enrich your own life while helping these young people and giving others the chance to work with you. You are already blessed with a loving spirit.


ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
June 29, 20110 found this helpful


I think this is a wonderful thing that you are doing. I have a friend in San Diego who loves dogs, like you do, is divorced, no kids. I will forward your article on to her. Who knows, perhaps you could strike up a friendship.

I would also be interested in perhaps getting my son's small private school involved with being pen pals for these children. All the children in his school are learning Spanish and it would be good for them to get to know some Spanish-speaking children. Contact me at : (eliminate the spaces and just bunch it all together) info at my kamp kegonsa dot com

Sandee from WI

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
June 30, 20110 found this helpful


God will bless you for what you are doing for those children. I am sure that your heart is swelling for what you have been able to provide to them with the help of friends. Keep up the good work and God bless you.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

In This Article
Giving to Charity
Giving to Charity
< Previous
Better Living Charity AdviceJune 13, 2011
Piggy Bank Surrounded by Money
Adding Up the Savings of a Frugal Life
Putting Money in Change Purse
Living a Frugal Lifestyle
A bride and bridesmaids.
Saving Money on Bridesmaid Dresses
A young child counting coins.
Teaching Your Kids About Frugal Living
Halloween Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
You are viewing the desktop version of this page: View Mobile Site
© 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on October 23, 2016 at 3:52:44 AM on in 2 seconds. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
Loading Something Awesome!