STOCK THE BLOCK - CUBA
Stocking the Block of the Local Community in Cardenas, Cuba
After the nation-wide protests in Cuba on July 11, 2021, the world was forced to take notice of the hardships the Cuban people have been facing. Living in Cuba this past year (November 14 2020 - July 3 2021) I personally witnessed an increasing amount of daily struggle to meet basic needs. Food shortages on rice, flour, beans, coffee, chicken, cooking oil and milk. Many of these items were sold before by street vendors but now Cubans have to shop for many items on Facebook pages where many staples are being sold for 3-4 times the original cost. Other items such as soap, shampoo, detergent and toothpaste can now only be bought at grocery stores which have become cashless since September 2020. A debit card with foreign currency has to be used to shop there, and prices are in USD, much similar to our costs in Canada and USA. This makes it very difficult for elderly people or someone who doesn't have family or friends outside the island to send them foreign funds.
On many of my visits to Cuba I bring with me at least one luggage full of donations which also is assisted by my generous parents. Even if you have money it is very difficult to buy many things there, they don't have the level of access as we do here in North America. Anything you need you just go to a shop or order online here in Canada. Shopping in Cuba is a marathon sport at times, takes a lot of patience and time. With donations of over $4000cad in the last couple years from my parents and their friends, me and my husband Danny have become volunteer Charity Shoppers. We have been able to buy much needed items for people in need as Cardenas has a lot of stores, it is one of the biggest cities in Cuba. Most of these purchases were donated to local Nuns who run small charities in Cardenas and in Manguito (a small nearby town), they directly help provide food, medicine, and household products to the elderly, sick, jobless and families with small children.
In season in the Spring May 2021
A special bond with this little Cuban fur son. June 2021
Created by our doctor friend, a list of needed hospital supplies and medicine that are currently lacking in Cuba. January 2021
One of the few restaurants open for take-out during the restrictions. June 2021
Vives Garden Italian Restaurant in Cardenas January 2020
New York based Cuban Artist
My husband had to buy this coffee on a Facebook page as there were no more in the shops, people buy in excess then sell on facebook for 3-4 times the price. In the store $2.50usd, on Facebook $14usd. May 2021
One of these was donated to the charity in Manguito, purchased in a Cardenas electronics store. June 2021
Its very hard to find these products in stores so my husband also had to buy these for me on Facebook for $3usd.
A local doctor friend and Sister Anna organizing and dividing hospital and medical supplies between Cardenas and Manguito. January 2021
Items purchased in Cardenas heading to Manguito. January 2021
One of my favourite trees ever! In full bloom in the Spring. May 2021
Donation money used for purchasing items as well as direct cash. January 2021
STOCK THE BLOCK
WHO ARE WE HELPING?
There are many people on my husbands block in Cardenas, the local community, who are having financial difficulties now. Some have lost jobs, some are waiting to get their job back once the tourism industry is back to normal, some are elderly who can't meet all their needs with their monthly pension, some have family in US who can't send money now due to blocks, these are all neighbors. If help becomes large enough we will expand to other nearby blocks.
HOW TO HELP
Financial donations can be sent by e-transfer (within Canada) to firstname.lastname@example.org, please state in the Notes "Cuba" or "Stock The Block". For international donations, please contact me at email@example.com. Money will be sent to Cardenas, Cuba via AIS (and one more method we need to figure out) online to my husband Danny who will be doing the shopping with the help of his Aunt and doctor friend. Until I (or my parents) travel to Cuba again, funds will be send online.
I will be sharing all purchases and sums on here as well as social media, Danny will also send me photos and videos as they go along. Feel free to ask me anything! Contact me
WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?
Items will be purchased through local methods in bulk or at the grocery stores if possible. Rice, beans, cooking oil, and toilet paper can be bought through Facebook (buy + sell group) now, while household items and imported goods such as pasta, sauce, canned food and juice are available at grocery stores. Fresh local and in-season fruits and vegetables remain available from street vendors. Phone credit will also be purchased where needed.
Aga y Danny
AVERAGE COSTS | As of July 2021
Items Available from Street Vendors, Government Shops or Facebook Buy + Sell
Prices in CUP: Cuban National Peso (vs Canadian Dollar for reference)
Rice (per lb) = 50cup/$2.60cad
Black Beans (per lb) = 50cup/$2.60cad
Cooking Oil (1L) = 280cup/$15.50cad
Milk Powder (500g) = 300cup/$15cad
Pork (per lb) = 100cup/$5.25cad
Fish (per lb) = 80cup/$4.20cad
Eggs (each) = 9cup/$0.47cad
Garlic (strand) = 250cup/$13cad
Onions (strand) = 100cup/$5.25cad
Bananas (bunch) = 15cup/$0.80cad
Avocado = 20cup/$1cad
Cucumber (bunch of 5) = 20cup/$1cad
Salt (per kg) = 75cup/$4cad
Bread - Buns (x10) = 60cup/$2.50cad
Cell Phone Credit - Calls + Data (1 GB) = 100cup/$5.25cad
Wifi Cards (per hour) = 25cup/$1.50cad
Cashless Grocery Stores
Prices in USD
Pasta (50-100g) - $0.60 - $1
Tomatoe Sauce - $0.60 - $2
Canned Fish - $2 - $12
Canned Meat - $1.50 - $2.50
Soap (bar) - 0.75 - $1
Shampoo (750ml) - $7
Laundry Detergent (per 100g) - $2
Toothpaste - $1.50
Toilet Paper (per roll) - $0.50
Average Cuban Salary = 1500 - 3000cup/$80 - $160cad
At our delayed Honeymoon in June 2021
Stray cat comes for dinner every evening 2021