Christmas in Mexico: Saskatoon couple distributes Christmas hampers

Hamper recipients with Ely and Paul Wheeler of Saskatoon. . (Photo courtesy Paul and Ely Wheeler)

By Paul Wheeler, St. Mary Parish, Saskatoon

My wife, Ely, and I usually spend Christmas in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Before we were married, Ely raised her three boys here as a single mother and worked as a city manager. Each year we try to have a “project” to assist some of the low-income persons living in the Vincente Guererro neighborhood.

Living conditions for some of the poor in the Vincente Guererro neighborhood are inadequate. (Photo courtesy Paul and Ely Wheeler)

This year, we distributed “Christmas Buckets” to 24 families. These are large buckets and through the generosity of donors, they were filled with food items and small Christmas gifts.

Many of you have noticed the large price increases for all items in Saskatoon. Food, gas, taxes… the list goes on and on. There is an affordability crisis happening for many Canadians. Here in Mexico, the effect is terrible. Whereas in past years, Ely and I could reasonably expect for food prices to be significantly lower than Canada, these prices have increased dramatically, sometimes doubling just within the past year or two.

The Mexican national minimum wage is being raised slightly to 249 Mexican pesos per day (this works out to about $19.50 Cdn!). Imagine being a poor person here, trying to support a family for less than $20 CDN per day. With the huge post-pandemic prices increases, it is just not possible.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, we had the distribution event at the Jesus of Nazareth parish. We had a group discussion about some of the difficulties families are facing, both here and in Canada. We then prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe to watch over and protect the families in need. The Christmas Buckets were then distributed and after many hugs, we left the church.

Brothers and sisters in Saskatoon, we would ask that in season of Advent, this season of hope, that you please include the poor in Mexico (and around the world) in your prayers. Prayer does make a difference! We are all joined through Christ and are all children of God.

(Special thanks to the Knights of Columbus (Viscount council) and Mr. and Mrs. Kevin and Bev Soloski for their generous help with this project.)

The Catholic faith and sense of hope in Our Lady of Guadalupe found in the neighborhood is humbling. . (Photo courtesy Paul and Ely Wheeler)


Jesus of Nazareth Parish in the Vincente Guererro neighborhood. (Photo courtesy Paul and Ely Wheeler)



Ely Wheeler, formerly of this city, now Canadian, speaks with some of hamper recipients about the hope we find in our Lord. . (Photo courtesy Paul and Ely Wheeler)