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Ecuador Cares supporters pack the house at Tuesday night ‘Gala’

The Cuenca-based charity organization Ecuador Cares attracted a full house to the Oro Verde Hotel on Tuesday night, as 480 supporters and 95 volunteers filled the conference hall. The evening included dinner and an auction to raise funds for abandoned children and elderly at the Hogar Miguel Leon.

Bard Gale and Diane Lenz at the Ecuador Cares Gala.
Bard Gale and Diane Lenz at the Ecuador Cares Gala.

In addition, a children’s chorus from Hogar Miguel Leon performed for the audience.

According to Ecuador Cares President Diane Lenz, community support exceeded all expectations. “We are truly grateful for the great turnout,” she said. “We had a completely full house.”

In addition to supporting residents at Hogar Miguel Leon, funds raised from the gala will be used to make badly needed repairs to the historic building located on Calle Simon Bolivar, near iglesia San Sebastian.

Ecuador Cares is focusing on the 31 orphans at Hogar Miguel Leon, which is operated by the Cuenca Catholic Archdiocese.

“Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty for these children who must leave the home when they turn 18,” Lenz said. “We have established programs to help them develop the skills they will need later, and offer weekly lessons in cooking, sewing, reading, as well as lessons in English.” Lenz said that Ecuador Cares also plans to establish a half-way home for the girls when they leave Miguel Leon. “They are the most vulnerable and we want to make sure they have a good start in life.”

Lenz thanked the businesses and individuals who helped put on the Gala. “This was an effort by both Cuencanos and North Americans and is the result of the support of many, many people devoted to improving the lives of these children.” In particular, she cited the work of Ecuador Cares leaders Bard and Brenda Gale, Marcia Espinosa, Phil Kennemer, Frank Grillo, Chelsea Gary, Charise Klardie, Lynne Pineda, and Pachi Duran.

Ecuador Cares volunteers.
Ecuador Cares volunteers.

Prior to focusing on Hogar Miguel Leon, Ecuador Cares provided volunteer assistance and funding for an orphanage in the Yunguilla Valley. The Yunguilla Orphanage for disabled children was on the brink of closure last year, lacking working plumbing, clean water, and adequate food, when volunteers from Ecuador Cares began working on repairs and upgrades.

According to Lenz, Ecuador Cares operates with almost no overhead costs, devoting all resources to its charity projects.

For more information about Ecuador Cares and ways to get involved, you can visit or e-mail Lenz at


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