HUNTSVILLE – A lesson in fitness here will help make a difference in the lives of Cuban residents by raising funds for humanitarian work in a small, impoverished region of the Caribbean island.
XY Zumba for Cuba is a family-friendly event for people to test-drive yoga and zumba for a “whatever you can afford” donation on Oct. 12.
Over the last few years Jenny Cressman has been doing some humanitarian work while vacationing in Cuba, but wanted to step up her efforts.
“The XY Zumba for Cuba party is just to create a little more awareness and raise a bit of money because most of the stuff I have been doing has been out of my own pocket,” said Cressman. “I just wanted to try to do it on a larger scale and gradually grow it.”
A few years ago she stumbled upon a quiet, little resort, in Marea del Portillo, away from the popular destination spots.
“It was just such a warm, welcoming place; both physically and emotionally. I immediately felt very at home there,” said Cressman. “The people captured my heart and it’s so easy to help them. Such simple things that we North Americans take for granted, are big deals to them.”
Things like a bottle of aspirin, school supplies, toiletries and clothing.
Cressman will be organizing two trips to Cuba annually and has started a Cuban Friends’ Fund, which she is working on establishing a charitable status for. Funds are used to buy supplies or rent a car to travel to isolated areas and deliver the goods.
The next trip will see a group of 40 people heading to Cuba with Cressman on Oct. 31. Some will be going to vacation and others will help Cressman with her humanitarian efforts. They’ll be taking bikes and suitcases filled with clothing and other supplies at their own expense.
Everyone on the trip pays for their own ticket and the cost of shipping a bike and the extra suitcases.
Cressman said even people working full-time at a resort are financially challenged, earning just $12 to $15 a month, while a pair of jeans costs $35.
“So you’re paying maybe two months salary to buy a pair of jeans,” she said.
Her long-term goal is to take larger amounts of supplies and shipping bundles of clothing.
XY Zumba for Cuba will take place at Sutherland Hall on Oct. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information visit www.jennicacuba.com.