Rito has experienced dramatic improvements in his family's quality of life over the course of his five years with Growers First, and this winter he was able pay the transformation forward to his neighbors.
Leonzo "Chavelito" Benitez, his wife Maria, and their eleven children live just a stone's throw from Rito in the village of La Cayentana. Until recently, they had been living in a home with a dirt floor. Rito, who was in the same position when we met him five years ago, wanted to help. He coordinated with Growers First and acted as foreman to install a cement floor in Chavelito's home, volunteering his time and labor to help pour the floor and leading a team of Growers First board members and their families as they assisted in the project. Rito's wife, Maria, served the group coffee in her home as they relaxed after the hard work.
In addition to helping Chavelito, Rito had the opportunity to share some of his family's heirloom seeds with a local orphanage, which will allow them to plant yellow, white, and blue varieties of corn. He is also coordinating with Growers First to use his solar drying facility as a nursery to raise organic vegetables for his community.