When you get up in the morning, what are your first thoughts?
Maria used to wake up feeling tired, and go through the whole day in a state of grinding fatigue and worry. Her mind raced between thoughts of where her next meal would come from and pain and discomfort from her various ailments.
Life should have been lovely. She had enjoyed a wonderful career as a professional ballet dancer in her native Mexico, often traveling the U.S. to perform. She moved to Arizona 40 years ago. She’d been blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren! Approaching age 70, she retired and moved into affordable senior housing in Phoenix.
But weariness dragged her down, day by day. She didn’t realize that she was undermining her own health — because of her diet. She didn’t know good health could be affordable. You came to Maria’s rescue... through your generous
support of Esperança.
- Your giving enables us to provide healthy stove-to-table meals every week for seniors who can’t be on their feet long enough to cook a meal or can’t afford groceries on limited income.
- And beyond simply providing nutritious food, you helped us offer Spanish-language cooking classes in Maria’s apartment complex — to teach seniors how to eat and live healthier.
“We were told it was going to be a fun group,” Maria remembers, “where we could learn how to cook healthy Mexican food.” She was skeptical. Groups had come in over the years offering classes about health, but it turned out they were really trying to sell insurance. Maria and her friends attended mostly to see each other and chit-chat.
And to Maria, the idea of learning to “cook healthy Mexican food” seemed a bit suspicious. “In my culture, food is a language of love,” she says, “and it is very important to share in traditional cooking.” Healthy food didn’t sound like tasty food.
But she was soon a fan! “With Esperança,” she recalls with a smile, “here came a health educator who spoke my language, looked like me — and cooked like me!”
Soon, Maria was learning about the nutritional value — or danger — of various ingredients. She was astonished to discover what she’d been doing to her own body and to learn how affordable healthy cooking could be.
In the first class, Su Salud con Sabor Latino (Your Health With a Latin Flavor), Maria was delighted to learn new healthy versions of familiar recipes — chile rellenos, cauliflower ceviche, and her favorite: hibiscus tacos. She began cooking differently — not just for herself. When any of her family visited, she was thrilled to prepare healthy meals for them. Less junk food and candy for the little ones, too.
“Every day I am learning something new,” she declares. “I love these classes!” Maria and her friends have learned about diabetes prevention and management, oral health, stress management, anxiety and depression, vision, arthritis, lupus, and the list goes on. Maria also learned that she is pre-diabetic — but with diet and a little exercise, she’s lowered her blood sugar, and her risk of diabetes.
Maybe best of all: No more waking up tired and dragging herself through the day!
“I feel better!” Maria announces. “Now I have more energy to do things — and my mood is happier.” Now 79 years old, she intends to enjoy her grandchildren and great-grandchildren for a long, long time!
And she’s just one of many seniors whose lives are beautifully different now, thanks to you. “Our community is buzzing with activity now!” Maria says with a huge smile. “I speak for many lives that Esperança is changing.... You have planted the seeds that are needed for us to improve our quality of life.”
She knows it isn’t happening by magic. It takes generous people like you to offer such help to Arizona seniors. And she is grateful. “I want to say thank you for the donations to make it happen,” she adds. “Thank you for telling me that my health is worth it!... Thank you to all the donors for making Esperança come alive, to provide hope to me and others like me. It brings so much joy to my heart!”
Your generosity keeps the Esperança team providing food for people in need here in Arizona, and helping people get healthy — and stay healthy — through our proven-effective programs and resources.
Since Esperança is approved for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit for donations to our Arizona program, your donation today can turn into a credit for you at tax time. Give up to $400 if you file singly, $800 jointly, and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit (not just a deduction) on your 2021 state taxes. So if you have a $400 tax bill and you gave $400 to Esperança’s Arizona program, your tax bill becomes zero!
Thanks to donations like these, seniors like Maria celebrate their health and happiness daily! Learn more about our Arizona programs here.