National Lutheran Coalition Members Build a School, Provide Water

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  In Pacanac, Guatemala, approximately 120 families must walk for miles to collect water from a river to use to drink, wash, cook and clean.
In Pacanac, Guatemala, approximately 120 families must walk for miles to collect water from a river to use to drink, wash, cook and clean.

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COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 5, 2013) – In 13 months, Lutheran Coalition members have raised enough money to build a school and install a water project in Guatemala with Food For The Poor. Three of the Lutheran pastors involved in the “Hope For Guatemala” initiative traveled to Guatemala, April 22-26.

On the second day of the mission trip, the group journeyed to Pacomon in Salcaja, Guatemala, to inaugurate the school that the Lutheran Coalition raised money to build. Together the travelers, students and teachers painted the three-classroom Food For The Poor school bright blue. The pastors reflected on how bleak the students’ futures had been just a year ago when the teachers taught from white boards tied to trees, and students constructed makeshift bench seats and school desks using pieces of wood and cinder blocks.

“Food For The Poor understands the vital importance of providing the schools and villages we build with access to clean water and proper sanitation. Many of the very young and the elderly die from preventable waterborne illnesses,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor.

Later that afternoon, the group journeyed to Pacanac, Totonicapán, in Guatemala. In this community there are approximately 120 families who do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. Instead they
must walk for miles to collect water from a river to use to drink, wash, cook and clean. Rivers in rural communities may appear clean, but they are often harboring harmful and potentially deadly bacteria that cause illnesses such as dysentery, cholera and parasitic infections. Additionally, the arduous daily chore of fetching water does not allow all the children in the community to attend school.

"A common chore for female children in developing countries is to collect and carry heavy buckets of water on their heads for their family’s daily needs," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "Often this time-consuming and treacherous task causes girls to miss class and remain uneducated, trapped in a life of poverty."

Thanks to the generosity of the Lutheran Coalition, a generator will be purchased and installed to activate a water pump inside the water well, to benefit more than 650 people in Pacanac.

The Rev. Ignacio Chan, President of the Lutheran Council of Guatemala, and also one of Food For The Poor’s in-country partners, supervised the construction of the school and will be responsible for the implementation of the water development project.

According to the CIA World Factbook, approximately 54 percent of Guatemalans live below the poverty line. For the poor, living below this line is not just defined by income, but includes poor access to safe water, malnutrition among children, absence of education, lack of sanitation, and exposure to disease.

Travelers from this trip included Pastor Gary Bauch (Hilton, N.Y.), David Broughton (Tucson, Ariz.), Robert and Joanne Erlbacher (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), Nadeen Jahn (Tucson, Ariz.), George La Mont (Brockport, N.Y.), Keith Less (Galena, Md.), Bryn Mulholland (Hamlin, N.Y.), Cheryl Romano (Rochester, N.Y.), Pastor Paul Short Jr. (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), Jeffrey Skopak (Tucson, Ariz.), and Kevin Wackett (Delmar, Md.).

The Lutheran Coalition is currently raising money to provide the community of San Juan, Guatemala, with access to clean, safe drinking water. Donations to Hope For Guatemala are accepted at www.FoodForThePoor.org/esperanza.

Members of the Lutheran Coalition include Pastor John Vaughn of St. Paul Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Prior Lake, Minn.; Pastor Jeffery Skopak of Fountain of Life Lutheran Church and School (LCMS) in Tucson, Ariz.; Pastor Gary Bauch of St. John Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Hamlin, N.Y.; Pastor Kevin Wackett of Bethany Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Salisbury, Md.; and Pastor David Winter of St. John Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Norwood Young America, Minn.

To learn how your congregation can join the Lutheran Coalition’s mission, please contact Jayne Cunningham by calling 1-877-654-2960, ext. 6803 or emailing jaynec@foodforthepoor.com.

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.  For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

        

Jennifer Leigh Oates

Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
jennifero@foodforthepoor.com