Papaya Trees In Nicaragua Give Families a Reason To Celebrate

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2009) — In the city of Chacraseca, Nicaragua, 52 families that once struggled to survive on less than a dollar a day, now celebrate their good fortune. The community received a gift of 2,800 papaya trees through the Taiwanese government’s International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) and Food For The Poor.

“Chronic malnutrition and hunger are widespread in the Caribbean and Latin America,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “Our staff and partners in the field have seen children use slingshots to hunt iguanas and birds, to sell and eat. The rotation of crops – such as tomatoes, sweet corn, papaya, guava, and other regional vegetables – provides a continual source of nutrition for starving children and their families.”  

Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is affected frequently by natural disasters – hurricanes, earthquakes and droughts – that weaken the country’s economy, and trap many people in the cycle of generational poverty.

“According to reports from the field, the harvested papayas and guavas are sold at market price to the three major supermarket chains in Nicaragua, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, in Léon, and local Taiwanese restaurants,” Aloma said.

ICDF and Food For The Poor work together to develop agricultural and animal husbandry projects to benefit the poor. The joint papaya and guava agricultural projects involve the provision of seedlings, farm equipment and fertilizer to families and communities as a method of producing food. ICDF representatives provide the technical training and supervision for the people participating in the program.

Fruit-bearing trees provide entire villages with a sustainable food source; goats provide milk and cheese, as well as a source of income to support families. Food For The Poor’s Christmas gift catalog is filled with creative gift ideas that enable communities to sustain themselves economically.

The catalog offers a wide variety of gifts – from a fruit tree for $10, or a gift of a goat for $90, to providing a family with three little pigs for $100. 

“For those trapped in poverty, the ability to regularly feed their families and earn an income is considered a blessing from God,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor, an interdenominational Christian relief organization. “Projects that offer the destitute a ‘hand up’ rather than a handout are crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty.”

All gifts are tax-deductible. To send a gift, the catalog can be accessed through the charity’s secure Web site at www.foodforthepoor.org/gifts, or a printed version of the catalog is available by calling 800-427-9104.

The Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund serves as Taiwan’s dedicated international development and cooperation organization, with a mission of “working for humanity, sustainable development, and economic progress.”  The ICDF shares Taiwan’s development experience with partner countries, and assists developing nations in their efforts to become self-reliant, enabling them to emerge from poverty.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the US, does much more than simply feed the millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. Since 1982, we have provided clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and emergency relief, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For additional information please visit our Web site at www.foodforthepoor.org.

Contact:

Jennifer Leigh Oates

Public Relations Coordinator

(954) 427-2222 x 6054

jennifero@foodforthepoor.org