Puente de la Costa Sur
Letter from Kerry Lobel
Dear friend of Puente,

It's Labor Day weekend. As I write, there are farm workers laboring in fields throughout the South Coast. Men and women toil in anonymity as cars race by filled with holiday-goers enjoying one of our few sunny days this summer.
I am reminded that my life as executive director at Puente provides me with the privilege to see beyond the anonymity of the fields and to know firsthand the stories of these men and women who are my neighbors and my friends.
This poem by Mary Oliver reminds me of the vision of Puente's founder, Wendy Taylor:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
 over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

For more than a decade, Puente has provided a home for the lonely and isolated to imagine, to have a "place in the family of things."
Each week, our oldest program, La Sala (the community living room), provides a safe place for farm and nursery workers to have a home-cooked meal, to to play dominoes and play guitars donated by our friend and artist, Rick Bartow. Each newcomer receives a backpack. This tangible welcome recognizes the long journey from home that many have taken to provide their families with food and shelter. Each backpack contains "rules of the road" as well as the items necessary to settle into a new town.
Puente offers "itself to the imagination" and provides farm and nursery workers with the tools to think beyond today and to imagine a new life for themselves and their families. Together, they learn to read and write in Spanish, to read and write English, and to prepare for citizenship. Field trips provide a way for farm and nursery workers to see the world beyond farm and field. Just last month, Puente brought a group of young farmworkers to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and others on field trips to the Rodeo and Flea Market.

As always, we can't do it without you and your financial and material support. For more than 10 years, some of our needs remain exactly the same:
  • Toiletries (full or travel size): shampoo, soap, deodorant, razors, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste
  • Towels and washcloths 
  • Tube socks
  • Sleeping bags
  • Hooded sweatshirts, vests and jackets
  • Bicycles in good condition
As you travel on your own journeys, we hope that you'll keep Puente in mind and collect some of the items above. Or a  gift of $15 buys the contents of one welcome bag. And a gift of $25 underwrites the cost of a field trip. 
We hope you'll consider making Puente home and join us as one of our many volunteers -- at this program or one of our many others.

Here's to a world of imagination!

Young farmworkers on trip to Monterey Aquarium


Photo by John Lee

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese,
high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."

Mary Oliver
For more information:
Pescadero, CA 94060