A little boy in Mexico City was concerned about homeless children during the pandemic, so he took action to help.
In Mexico City, it is estimated that some 15,000 poor children live on the streets. This is only an approximation, however; nobody knows exactly how many there are, or where they are, or how they manage to survive.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the confinement imposed as a preventative measure have made many “invisible” people visible. Many children in Mexico who used to earn their living by engaging in the most menial activities, now can no longer carry bags for people at markets, sell sweets or chewing gum to passersby, or beg at traffic lights.
From child to child
A report in the Excelsior newspaper by Gerardo Jiménez shows that age is not an obstacle when you want to take care of others. Little Leon Rocco is eight years old and lives in the Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood of Mexico City. His initiative deserves our attention, because he decided to offer protection packages to minors who need to earn a living in public spaces on a daily basis.
Specifically, for the last three weeks, Leon has been giving away paper bags containing a mask, gloves and gel so that these children can take measures to avoid catching the coronavirus and can continue with their work.
To make this initiative a reality, Leon has counted on the support of his parents Mónica and Max and of other people who have wanted to contribute, such as neighbors who have donated masks and hand sanitizer. At first he collected $85,000 pesos (about US$3,800) through the crowdfunding platform donadora.org, and now he has a second fundraising campaign underway. In this way, his “Children helping children” campaign has opened the hearts and pockets of many people sensitive to the situation of these children.
I have a home
In the Mexican newspaper, Leon said, “I cannot help them, nor can I force them to stay at home all the time because they have to work on the street, but I got the idea that maybe I can help them to be safer on the street. I have a place to stay and I have a home and maybe they don’t.”
According to the Excelsior report, Leon also went to hand-deliver 200 of his his bags in Mexico City’s Historical Center on May 12 and 20, through the organization “Cocinamos México” (“We Cook” of Mexico). Another 150 bags were distributed in poorer neighborhoods of the municipality of Miguel Hidalgo.
Leading by example
Leon does not only do his job by delivering packages and giving encouragement to other children. He also tries to give them a little joy by decorating the bags with messages in colorful letters.
As Scripture says, “A little child shall lead them.” Leon’s initiative has been supported by his parents, his neighbors, the contributors to his crowdfunding campaigns, and even by the mayor of his home municipality of Miguel Hidalgo, Víctor Hugo Romo, who promised to donate food and logistical support.
“I’m very happy because I’m helping low-income children, but I also feel a little sad about what they are going through, and because if their parents die, maybe they will have to take care of themselves,” the child told Excelsior.