Last updateFri, 11 Mar 2016 6pm

San Juan Cosala’s ‘Token’ Store helping restore community pride

A new charity store that doesn’t accept money is helping needy residents in San Juan Cosala obtain essential items for their families. 

The brainchild of founders Tony Trueblood, Jonnie Harker and Nancy Brown, the Magical Token Store opened in the lakeshore pueblo last August.

The store only accepts tokens, which can be earned by serving the community or participating in local initiatives.

“This is a hand-up, not a hand-out,” says Brown. “We want people to retain their pride and dignity.” 

Tokens can be earned in a variety of ways. For example, each Tuesday morning a community clean-up attracts between 50-60 people, who armed with brooms, rakes and dustpans, clean streets and sidewalks. 

Families also earn tokens by making sure their children participate in programs to stay out of gangs and off drugs. Youngsters involved on soccer teams or in the village orchestra can earn tokens.

Tokens are given to school teachers who encourage students to maintain regular attendance and work hard. Adults taking classes offered by ProMexico, such as cooking or massage, can also obtain tokens. 

“The concept is exactly what this community needs,” says Harker. “We have found that people have pride in being able to work for their community and see the rewards.”

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