"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for our seasonal blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill we started last year to draw attention to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in Playa del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya. So many people from around the world travel to the Riviera Maya during the holiday season. Many reach out to us via regional message boards and Facebook looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate residents in our local communities. 12 Days/12 Ways was started to help these generous, kind-hearted visitors find legitimate and worthy charitable organizations to support, addressing their particular needs for this holiday season.

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach", will spotlight a charitable organization or giving opportunity. Some may already be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has not yet been completed for 2011. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for inclusion.


El Mundo Para Puerto MorelosEl Mundo Para Puerto Morelos SC is a charitable organization for the community of Puerto Morelos, Mexico - Determining the Need, Implementing the Solution. Our goal is to inspire the citizens and friends of Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico to enrich their lives and their community in the areas of health, education, and welfare through financial generosity and volunteer commitment.

Through research and open communication EMPPM determines needs that are not being met through normal bureaucratic channels, work with community leaders to identify solutions to meet those needs, then focuses on the steps necessary to implement plans for solving the issues. Please join EMPPM in supporting this small, beautiful, thriving fishing community struggling to maintain its autonomy in a world of international tourists.

El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos began in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes Wilma and Emily. In October, 2005, a group of local expatriates were made aware of a disturbing problem in one of the primary schools. With an enrollment of 700 and a water system damaged by the storms, the students and faculty were only able to flush the toilet twice a day, and had no water for hand washing. The locals responded by reaching into their pockets asking how much it would cost. Thus began the organization and establishment of El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos, SC, (The World for Puerto Morelos), and its first project of successfully replacing the school's entire water system.

El Mundo Para Puerto MorelosEMPPM responded, and still responds, to the needs of this rapidly growing community. This civil organization provides assistance for pregnant women with no money for vitamins or a healthy diet, medical clinics in desperate need of supplies, schools with little or no resources, and emergency responders with no safety equipment. EMPPM seeks to fill these needs by organizing and, supporting community activities and fund-raising events, supplying desperately needed supplies and equipment, and supporting special construction projects. Ninety five percent of all donations go directly to these community needs, with five per cent covering administrative costs.

El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos is certified as non-profit in Mexico and in the United States (Friends of El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos), as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Tax ID# 80-0515521. The focus has been on enriching the lives of everyone in the community through maintenance and improvement in the areas of health, education, and welfare.

With the help of tourists, friends, expats, and local residents EMPPM has been able to tackle major issues in our community, aiding the emergency responders, medical clinics, and educational facilities and families with special programs, supplies, and equipment. EMPPM looks forward to continuing this assistance through contributions and donations from supporters, both worldwide and local.

El Mundo Para Puerto MorelosHow can YOU help?

Sponsor a Student!
El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos is in full gear for the holiday season! This year EMPPM helped acquire sponsorship for  54 children, from kindergarten to high school, with their fees, uniforms and supplies. They are still in need of support for a number of students; sponsorships in the amount of just $60 and $90 will help sponsor children in need for the full year. Visit http://www.emppm.com/sponsor to donate and they will send you a recently-snapped photo of the child you are sponsoring.

At the technical high school, EMPPM is helping to support a recycling and environmental program organized by the students, aiding them to grasp concepts in social responsibility and beautification of their campus and colonia. Everyone in town is encouraged to put their plastics aside and bring them to the school. The students receive a small amount of compensation for the plastics they collect, which will go toward further funding the program.

Handy with a hammer? EMPPM is working with local health and human services organizations to build roofing for families living in make-shift homes constructed from packing crates. Proper shelter is increasingly important as temperatures begin to drop. Residents and holiday visitors are invited to donate their time and labor to help accomplish this. Monetary donations are also needed to purchase building materials and supplies.

Become a "Padrino de Leche"!
In cooperation with DIF (health and human services), EMPPM is promoting a new program called "Padrinos de Leche," or Milk Sponsors. Friends and frequenters of Puerto Morelos are encouraged to donate one or more containers of powdered milk or formula to local families who are struggling to provide essential nutrients for their babies. Containers of formula cost the equivalent of approx. $12 - $30 usd, depending on the type, and can be incredibly valuable to a family, sometimes meaning the equivalent of an entire week of work.

El Munco Para Puerto Morelos 

Make a Monetary Donation! 

Monetary donations are welcomed and much needed to continue the in valuable programs initiated by EMPPM. For monetary donations in the US: 

Make checks payable to: El Mundo para Puerto Morelos
c/o Kay R. McMillan
4115 Honeycomb Rock Circle
Austin, Texas 78731-2015 USA
(You will receive official acknowledgment of your contribution for tax purposes) 

In Mexico, donations of cash or much needed items from the wish list below can be dropped off in the village of Puerto Morelos at: 

Casa Caribe Bed and Breakfast, Rojo Gomez, 3 blocks north of Town Square
Mayan Riviera Properties: Beach side of Town Square   
Arrecife Properties, beside the Church on Town Square

Donate in Kind!

There are a number of schools and local community organizations desperately in need of assistance and contributions. Items needed include: 

Sports Equipment - specifically basket balls, soccer balls, and nets for both.

Science Lab Equipment and Supplies - specifically microscopes for high school

Student spiral bound notebooks - with lines and with squares (but not tiny squares)

Assorted easy to read books in Spanish (BookWorms is a good series with a variety of topics. Published by Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, New York)

Books - All ages and reading levels, English, Spanish  

Laptop Computers

Reams and Reams of colored paper

Colored pencils and Pencils

School scissors, glue, staplers

Educational wall decorations and mobiles - planet systems, biology, geology etc in Spanish if possible

Educational Games - English, Spanish, Bilingual

Reference Books and Encyclopedias

Band Equipment and Musical Instruments

Tooth brushes and toothpaste

Math flash cards


Educational toys (not battery-operated)

Toy building materials such (like large Lego)


Art supplies - paints, brushes

Plastic containers for storage

Chairs for teachers - many needed

Paint for school walls and cleaning equipment

Office Supplies

Tools for maintenance

Basic First Aid Supplies

Buckets of white paint

Security bars and doors

Trees and shrubs


El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos 

For more information:
Cat Brown
52 998 251 8060 Mexico
512-410-8146 USA

Katie Walsh
Professional Copy and Editing
Senior Editor, TODO Austin
Mexico: 998.179.3868
US: 512.800.7078