For Cuenca expats, it’s one of the few times during the year when they can dress up and support their favorite charity at the same time.
Last week, the non-profit organization Ecuador Cares hosted what may have been the largest gathering of expats in Cuenca history, as nearly 600 turned out at the Hotel Oro Verde to support the work of Hogar Miguel Leon, which houses abandoned children and elderly.
In December, another charity, Hearts of Gold, hosts its own gala at Quinta Lucrecia in support of a program to feed hungry Ecuadorians.
In addition to providing a sit-down dinner, the galas include speeches, music, auctions and raffles to support their causes.
“This community, both expats and Cuencanos, is incredibly generous and is eager to become involved in causes to help the less fortunate,” says Diane Lenz, president of Ecuador Cares. “Proceeds from our gala are critically important for improving the lives of children and the elderly.”
Canadian expat Natasha Verkley, executive director of Hearts of Gold, says her gala provides Cuenca expats a chance to give back to the community that has provided them a home. “This country and this city have welcomed us and we need to show solidarity with the local population by providing badly needed services,” she says.
Both Ecuador Cares and Hearts of Gold work with Ecuador’s Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES) to identify community needs and to coordinate efforts with those of the government.