by Tom O’Flaherty and Other Friends of Casa de Asilo
*Editor’s Note: “Asilo” refers to El Asilo de Ancianos which is a state-run elderly home in Bocas Town (Isla Colón).
“Friends of Casa de Asilo” is not about one person but the story of many people in the compassionate community in Bocas and the world beyond. It is about the people in the community who have been giving to the Asilo Family for many years with bake sales and individuals giving time and donation to help support the efforts of the staff and the many hours of volunteering through the years.
Four years ago, I started using social networking with The Friends of Casa de Asilo Facebook group as a way of letting the community know what was needed and what was going on in the lives of the Asilo Family. Posting pictures and urgent needs of food, supplies and providing quality of life opportunities at Asilo, we created a growing group of angels who continue to be involved with those who have so little at the end of their lives.
A social network path has blossomed into a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that can receive donations to provide the medications, medical supplies, dry goods, structural repairs and an opportunity for people everywhere to continue to support the residents of Casa de Asilo.
It’s not about a few people, it’s about many hearts caring for the residents of Casa de Asilo, and providing for those who are in need.
I have been blessed to be a part of this effort, joining all those who volunteer. Anyone who has come to Asilo, spent time with the Asilo Family knows the joy of giving and receiving. This could be you if you take the time to come and share your time and heart. We are all better for the experience.” – Tomás O’Flaherty
How can you help? Donate and/or volunteer! Volunteering can be the classic “walk and roll” where you take a walk with a resident or roll them about town if they are in a wheelchair- taking them to the park and having a nice conversation or to a place of worship. Pizza parties are popular. If you play music, come rock the Casa Asilo because they love to be entertained and many residents will dance and sing and drum right along with you. Even just dropping in and spending any amount of time with them is sure to brighten up their day.
Check out the Facebook “Friends of Casa de Asilo” and you can also contribute directly to the GoFundMe campaign (search: Help my Asilo Friends). Now is a great time to donate because the Singer Foundation will match up any and all donations, up to $20,000, for a limited time only.
A very special thank you to Jean Sohmer, whose radiant smile and big heart continue to light up the Asilo day in and day out, and big thank you as well to the following wonderful people: Mark Johnson & Family, Carla Rankin, Jeb Dishman, Sharon Adam, John Schneider, Barry & Lily Munroe, Tiffany Padilla, the Floating Doctors Organization, Habla Ya, the Flying Pirates and many others who wish to remain anonymous or I might have missed (sorry!). Though we all know that the Friends of Asilo do these deeds out of the goodness of their hearts and not for public praise. The residents of Asilo and community of Bocas del Toro are very grateful for your efforts.
Our friend Tom will be returning for a Bocas visit at the end of the month. Feel free to drop into the Asilo and say hi to Tom and Jean and become a Friend of Casa Asilo yourself!
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan