The Salvation Army Children’s Center in Tijuana, a space designed for ‘childcare with a purpose’ that is free of charge. They care for children of struggling families or single mothers in deeply troubled communities with the purpose of keeping these kids off of the streets, teaching them values, and providing a God-centered education. Though a place like Ejercito de Salvación may resemble a spring in the desert, it is difﬁcult for them to care for all the children in need due to their limited resources and their ministry being dependent on volunteers. However, after partnering with Outside the Bowl, Ejercito de Salvación was able to expand because of the low cost of meals which allowed them to take in more kids from their community
Camila was one of those children accepted at Ejercito de Salvación after their partnership with Outside the Bowl. She suffered a severe case of malnutrition. Her physical weakness and vulnerability against illness was a constant concern. Camila’s young mom chose to ﬂee with her daughter to the north from their homeland Sinaloa due to extreme poverty, high criminal activity, and lack of opportunity to improve their lives. Tijuana would offer a new beginning and a brighter future for her darling Camila.
Their search for better lives didn't come without trouble. She shares, “Tijuana is a large city. I didn’t expect that. There are lots of people and they don’t all have the best intentions. Even having something to eat is an everyday struggle.”
When she found about Ejercito de Salvación, Camila’s mom was eager to visit. Ejercito de Salvación welcomed them with much joy, and the volunteers at this ministry made sure they received guidance in settling in this new city. “We not only found food and support here, but it was also a refuge,” she says. Their lives have been completely transformed through the service of the volunteers at Ejercito de Salvación.
Ejercito de Salvación cares daily for Camila while her mom is as work. Her mom has ﬁnished high school and even started college because of the help she’s receiving. Her motivation to pursue education came from the people at Ejercito de Salvación. She says, “I just fund so much support here. I felt like I could actually have a purpose and I was able to trust that they would take good care for my child.”
One of the purposes of Outside the Bowl is to reverse in whatever means possible the impact and damages that malnutrition has over the children’s physical health. Camila is a clear example that eating nutritious food can in fact contribute to healing and restoring the body.
Camila now looks radiant, healthy, and nourished! Her health has been restored and she’s physically doing well. Ejercito de Salvación thanks Outside the Bowl for opening up new possibilities for them to feed and serve more children and families than they ever imagined. “Without you, this task of caring for so many children would be impossible. We thank you for your constant support, for we know that even if it rains or thunders, you will be faithful in completing your service and that food will always arrive,” says María, a head volunteer at Ejercito de Salvación.
Written by Vianney A.E.