The Pato Amarillo Association can found in the heart of the Orcasitas neighborhood in Madrid. Their premises, on Salado street, a building with no number, and with the threat of being evicted always looming, welcomes dozens of people every day who are looking to receive food and clothing. It all began many years ago, during the 1980s and '90s. “A group of mothers against drugs got together”, recounts Pilar Aural, the heart and soul of this association and one of the project's superheroes. These mothers would meet up under one roof and turn on a gas heater so that their children or their children's friends, with their lives destroyed by drugs, could at least come and warm themselves up after selling kleenex at bus stops and traffic lights.
Today, the Pato Amarillo Association helps more than 35 families who arrive every day, from Monday to Friday, to receive a grocery cart with food including pasta, pulses and sometimes vegetables, and above all children's products.
The Pato Amarillo Association's premises store the provisions donated by Food Banks, supermarkets and anonymous volunteers, which Yolanda, Pilar's indispensable assistant, calls “hearts in solidarity”. Despite catering for some 2000 people a month, 900 of whom are minors, they do not always manage to collect as many fresh products as they would like.
Pilar supervises or chats to the people who arrive. She knows almost everyone by name. The Pato Amarillo Association welcomes everyone, although there is no heating, in the warmest way possible and always with a smile.
Yolanda Corral, Pilar's right-hand woman for over 10 years is another of the project's heroines. “I turned to her when I had family problems. Pilar helped my daughter and me. She asked me if I wanted to come along and wrap up gifts. I told her I would help out for a few days and it's now been 11 years”.
And there are also volunteers who help out. There are 17 in total and many of them are pensioners. They unload trucks and organize the provisions in the pallets. Without the volunteers, none of it would be possible. Among the association's volunteers is Toñi who is 39 years old. She turned to the Pato Amarillo Association when she was going through a difficult time after losing her job as a shop assistant and when her husband, a construction worker, was also unemployed. They received Pato Amarillo's help for two years. Afterwards, once they got back on their feet, Toñi became a dedicated volunteer who has been helping out every day for the last three years in order to help those who are going through the same problems that she went through.
This project relies on the good will of organizations and people. Which is why, through our Sé Solidario (Be charitable) program, as well as offering them financial support we have also provided shopping carts for the beneficiaries and a fund in order to buy 600 new beach shoes for the children.
As Pilar explains “In this day and age, the fact that so many young people can't even access a house or employment, or even a hot meal is unbelievable”. For this reason, everyone is welcomed in this association. Absolutely everyone. Including the people who only come to talk about their problems. At the Pato Amarillo, whatever the person's situation, the only option is to help each other out.