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El Puente - The Bridge

We're often asked, "What can I bring?"

Some things are hard to get here. For others, the local brands don't last very long. For still others, we sometimes run out in the middle of the school year. If you're coming down to visit, these things would be most welcome, with

Critically needed items shown in red below.

School and Craft Supplies--the school year starts in February here and shopping begins in December--and there are ongoing needs through the year. To see the government-published list of what is required at the start of school, CLICK HERE.  We need cash donations for purchase of school uniforms & shoes, and transportation to and from Limón and Bribri to purchase needed items

There is an ongoing critical need, for the day-to-day supplies that both the students and the schools use. Erasers and pencil sharpeners are needed, rulers, protractors. Notebooks recommended size approximately 6½"  x  8¾", NOT spiral bound, (the spirals get "caught" to each other in backpacks) with lined pages. Construction paper, crayons, coloring books and blow-em bubbles are a critical nice-to-have, colored pencils, regular #2 pencils, ball point pens During the school year, backpacks wear out, and we often have to replace them.  Elmer's white glue for school projects. And, REAL Scotch Tape in dispensers--better yet, one dispenser and a batch of refills.

Envelopes--ivory colored, "Invitation" size 5 ¾ x 4 ⅜″ - to be sold with the greeting cards. Usually available at Office Depot.

Flashlights and decent batteries--with parts that can be easily purchased--"normal" bulbs, standard "D" cell batteries. Often the only way a student has of walking home at night, and for homework when candles just won't do it. 

Ponchos, Compact Umbrellas--important in the rain forest--good quality materials. Folding umbrellas must be big enough to cover a teenager with a full-size backpack to keep the books dry.

Thick, heavy shower curtains or tarps--can be used to waterproof a thatch roof

The tarps available here are "very" -- very big, very heavy, and very expensive.

Dish & bath towels--100% cotton please! The plastic fiber stuff doesn't absorb as well.

Second hand is OK!

Light Bulbs--220 Volt 150 watt When these bulbs are used on 110 Volts, they run for years without burning out. We use these as heat sources on "dry closets", to prevent mold in  computers, cameras, clothes, and important papers. We need a half-dozen of these, since we first installed them 5 years ago.

"Shoe Goo" - the name for a great repair glue for kids' shoes. It can save or delay the cost of buying another pair of school shoes during the school year.

Bandanas--some of the roads are not paved here, and the kids who walk to school are breathing in dust constantly. Bandanas are one way to make their walk easier.

Medical--Vitamin C tablets, 500 or 1,000 in a bottle.

Britta Water Filters--small, round, for a pitcher.  We filter water for about 100-150 people a week. A rough calculation says we've served 100.000 cups of filtered water for fruit juice, or drinking.

Ongoing Needs:

Rain Forest-Friendly Paper--both greeting-card stock (60-80#), and brochure stock (120#) white or off-white, made of non-tree fibers,  both types 8 1/2 x 11 inches. We prefer to use banana paper and/or recycled paper preferably natural color. The banana paper is, made in Costa Rica and sold in the USA. No trees are destroyed to make banana paper.

Three-ring binders  - plastic construction, white preferred, pockets inside front and back covers, with a clear acrylic cover for inserts on the front cover. 

Used DVDs with good movies for kids--no war, police, violence, foul language--generally rated G or PG, with a Spanish language soundtrack available. See a list of the DVDs we already have by clicking on this link and clicking on the PDF file. These should be playable in Region 4 as well as Region 1

Coloring books--both children and adults use these at the Community Kitchen.

Used/new books in the spirituality/new thought genre, English or Spanish

Used/new books of children's stories, preferably in Spanish

Used/New Blankets--single, double--no electric ones

Bathing Suits--for both girls and boys,

Children's Underwear--both girls and boys

Used Clothes--for children, and for adults.

Toothbrushes--expensive, and they're gone through quickly--don't forget Toothpaste

Fine Art Paintbrushes--Nanci the artist is making paintings to sell to buy personal items.

Wrapping paper--for birthday gifts

PLEASE LET US KNOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK… ...if you plan on bringing anything down.

That will help us coordinate with anyone else who may be planning on traveling here.


We are grateful for the many

people who have donated their time, energy, and money to purchase items from this page, and--as if that weren't enough-- then carried them down here in their luggage. They have enabled us to fulfill our mission here.

Sometimes, only cash will do in getting things done here.

We also gratefully accept

Cash  Donations

Thank you for your support!




Many things we all buy in stores are packaged in plastic.

Most places in the US, and some in Costa Rica, have good recycling programs, and the plastic can be disposed of without damaging the environment.

In our area, and in the jungle which is home to many of the people we serve, there isn't an effective,

recycling program. So, plastic packaging is a problem here.

Please--remove the hard or semi-hard plastic packaging on things you bring down and dispose of the plastic before sending or bringing items down.