Every Thursday, Tony Grande heads up to Relleu to the Emaus home with a van load of goodies bought en-route – sadly not presents as such but essentials, like food, bought with money generously donated and raised by ex-pats. The economic crisis has hit everyone and no-one more so than the charities here.
Back in January the Harley Davidson Costa Blanca Chapter donated, or as Tony likes to say “invested” a fantasic €3,365 and he invited Peter Emmett – Press Officer and members of the group over last Sunday to see what they have done with the money. 50 bikers roared over through the countryside to be met by a group of volunteers, helpers and residents – all thankful to the leather-clad group for their support.
Tony founded “Make a Smile” – a charity to support his dream of making the Relleu home self sufficient and so changing the lives of the 24 mentally challenged youngsters which live there. The home is set in ten hectares of land and every Thursday a group of volunteers head over to help plant and regenerate the land – they have crops of vegetables, strawberries, olive trees which have been picked and made into olive oil and livestock – including lambs, goats and 128 chickens!
These chickens are now producing over 300 eggs per week – enough to supply not only this home but the other 7 Emaus homes plus some left over to sell locally. In a few weeks time when the crops are ready they plan to sell veggie boxes with a selection of free range eggs, vegetables and olive oil, ploughing the money back into the project and so helping them become self sufficient.
The bikers were taken on a grand tour of the facilities then everyone sat down to lunch, kindly made by Wayne and Steven from the BBQ Shop in Calpe whilst being entertained by Denia rock group Gatecrash.
Tony, his wife Lucy and an incredible army of volunteers should be extremely proud of what they have achieved in trying to change the lives of what would otherwise be the forgotten few – sadly those that live there have no family or anyone else to take care of them.