Helping Angels of Peru began as a simple idea when Founder Angelín Kiplinger decided to emulate her mother's life-long demonstrations of generosity. Her mother would always be ready to provide handouts to people in need. Angelín, who had moved to the United States and became a citizen, could simply not forget about the family tradition of caring for others. In her trips to Peru to visit family she was always confronted with the reality of the poverty. She finally decided she was going to be directly involved in making changes.
Angelín is a great cook, specializing in Peruvian cuisine, so she organized dinners at her home in the Cincinnati area. With support from family and friends she prepared meals and only asked for donations from anyone attending. The funds she raised were used entirely to purchase the items that were distributed to the people in Cajamarca. Angelín and her husband Kevin self-funded all of the other expenses, such as travel to Peru and lodging.
Eventually, it became clear to Angelín that the only way to expand the charitable efforts was to make Helping Angels of Peru a formal organization. In December, 2017 Helping Angels of Peru became an official charitable, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is now registered with the IRS, so it can receive tax-deductible donations. Recently we celebrated the first formal meeting. Please come back soon to our site as we will be adding new information and updates about our progress.
THE BUSTAMANTE FAMILY
During a 2016 trip to Peru Angelín and her group of volunteers decided to go to the rural area of Ventanilla, north of the city of Cajamarca. On the way, someone told the group that there was a family of three orphaned children that had lost their mother a year ago, so they went looking for those children. It was not easy because in that rural area there is no exact address and the houses tend to be isolated. Asking everyone they met on our way, the group finally found them.
There were two girls, the oldest was Maria, 8 years old, and Juanita, 7 years old. The youngest, Esteban Jr., was a 2-year-old boy. They lived with their father, but it is the grandmother who took care of them while the father was working in the fields. The grandmother told us that her daughter was pregnant with their fourth baby when she suffered a fall, severely hitting her head. Unfortunately, due to lack of public transportation and money, they took too long to get her to the nearest hospital in the city. The mother, with the baby in her womb died, leaving these children as basically orphans.
The father, Esteban Bustamante Chilon, is a farmer, but heavy rains damaged his crop that year and he lost all his potato harvest. He was the only supporter of the family. In the group's second visit last year the volunteers took some non-perishable foods, such as canned milk, multiple grains, cereal, and some clothing, etc. The father and the children were very happy and grateful. Angelín and the others involved know this help was just temporary, but they hope that eventually they will be able to provide advanced education to these children.
"I first met Angelin Kiplinger in approximately 2012 through a mutual friend, Colonel Arturo Gutierrez of the Peruvian Air Force when he was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio where I was working at the time. We attended several official functions on the base together.
"I knew of the charity work she started to help the children in her hometown of Cajamarca, Peru but I was not personally involved with the organization. But in December of 2015 while my wife and I were in Panama for our winter retreat, I saw a post she made on Facebook that she would be travelling to Cajamarca, Peru for annual charity mission in January 2016.
"My wife and I already planned to tour four countries in South America, including Peru, in January 2016. I called Angelin and asked her if we could accompany her on her mission trip to Cajamarca and she readily accepted. So we called our travel agent and made the change to our itinerary to include Cajamarca.
"We flew from Lima to Cajamarca and Angelin and her sister Elaine met us at the airport. She graciously hosted us at their family home for the entire 9 days we were there. Two days after we arrived, she started purchasing the items at the local market for donation to the children. These items included boots, clothes, soccer balls and candy. She spent a couple days separating the shoes and clothes by size and packaging the candy into small bags.
"Her mission was to find three orphan boys whom she had seen on TV during the Christmas season of 2015. These boys had reportedly never seen a Nativity scene before and had walked several miles from the top of the mountains where they lived to the town square where the Nativity scene was on display.
"Angelin rented a taxi for the day and early one morning, she, her sister Elaine, I and my wife Noris set out to try and find where these kids lived. It’s important to note that there are no street addresses in the hills and mountains surrounding Cajamarca and even the general area itself was difficult to find and it was treacherous driving on those mountain roads. It took us over two hours driving and after stopping several times and asking directions, we finally found a young girl who knew of one of the boys Angelin was looking for. He was tending sheep in a nearby field.
"The young girl went and got him and as he approached us, we could see the blisters on his little face from having to work in the cold without adequate protection. Angelin asked the young boy about his siblings and what had happened to his parents. He said his father was dead but his mother was still alive and was actually working in the field. Angelin told him that she thought he was orphaned and he was honest and said that the TV reporters in the town square had told him and his brothers to say that in order to sensationalize their story. But this in no way detracted from the need of this young boy and his brothers, as well as all the other children who seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
"What I witnessed that day was nothing short of love in action. Angelin not only fitted them for clothes and shoes, but got on her knees to wash the muddy feet of several children before trying on their new boots. She made sure each child who came got something. The smiles on these children’s faces upon getting even the smallest gift is something that stay with me forever.
I have donated to charities for years but this was the first time I was actually part of a charity mission and got to see how the money was spent. There was no administrative overhead. Every dollar Angelin collected was spent on these children. It simply warms my heart to see how much love Angelin has for these children. She is a shining example of someone who asn’t forgotten her roots. She is truly a Helping Angel. I will always support her and this charity."