Feeding orphans, body and soul | VailDaily.com

Feeding orphans, body and soul

Special to the DailyNancy Nystrom and one of the orphans from Casa Hogar los Angelitos in Manzanillo, Mexico.

Orphaned children in Mexico lack the essentials of life ” food, water, clothing and shelter.

But most of all, they lack the resources to change their fates. Without education and nurturing, there’s little chance these children can rise above the poverty and deprivation.

But for some of the orphans of Manzanillo, Mexico, there is hope in the form of the Casa Hogar los Angelitos. This orphanage, opened in 2001, is a labor of love founded by former Eagle Valley resident Nancy Nystrom.

“These are lives that would be lost. We change these children’s lives,” she says.

Operated by a Colorado based nonprofit corporation called The Children’s Foundation, the orphanage is part of an overall effort that seeks to change the lives of children suffering from abuse, poverty, neglect and abandonment, and to also break the devastating cycle of poverty.

Opening an orphanage was never a dream of Nystrom’s until tragedy hit her life on Sept. 27, 1994. On that day, her son, Fred, died unexpectedly. Nystrom was consumed with grief. At the time, she was living in Vail and was the owner of Winwood Gallery in Minturn.

Through a series of events, she came to fervently believe that it was God’s will for her to build an orphanage in the town of Manzanillo, where she and her husband had owned a home since 1983.

The Casa Hogar los Angelitos is home to 47 orphans. In addition to providing children with food and shelter, the facility provides tutoring so that the orphans, who have seldom attended school, can keep up with their classmates.

“One of the things we teach our children is to give back,” Nystrom says. “Our children go out and help other people.”

Children from Casa Hogar bring clean water and food to families who labor long hours in the fields and live in makeshift tents made of plastic garbage bags. According to Nystrom, this outreach effort continues to grow and the orphanage has fed, literally, thousands of people.

Nystrom ” “Mama Nancy” to the orphans ” says the Children’s Foundation is a nondenominational effort that is not associated with any single church, business, political group or government. “We are truly philanthropic in the fullest sense.”

And she believes that one person can change the future by changing the life of a child.

“They are all beautiful children. All they need is an opportunity,” says Nystrom.

She points to Rodrigo as an example. Rodrigo was Casa Hogar’s first resident.

Before moving to the orphanage, he was surviving on the streets as a flame blower ” he would spit flammable liquid from his mouth and light it on fire for the entertainment of passers-by.

“If he hadn’t come to us, he would have died. His brain would have been fried or his lungs would have been fried,” says Nystrom. “Rodrigo’s goal now is to the president of Mexico. I believe he can do it.”

To learn more: http://www.childrensfoundationinc.com

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