FFP Donors Provide Hope, Answer Prayers for Guatemalan Families
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2018) In the hills of Loma Larga in Guatemala, the floors of the two dilapidated shacks shared by Flor's family of six are dirt. Outside, the skies are bright and blue, but inside it's dark like a closet. The community only has access to water every 25 days, which means storing it in dirty containers and risking contamination.
Despite her living conditions, Flor smiles, does not complain and asks for nothing.
But better days are coming. Flor learned that she and her family soon will both receive new homes, thanks to Food For The Poor's generous donors. The word came just weeks before her 29th birthday.
The homes will be built by Caritas Arquidiocesana, one of the charity's trusted partners in Guatemala.
The new homes will provide a safe, secure place for Flor and her daughter, Jazmin, her parents and a brother and sister. They no longer will have to sleep on dirt floors or watch helplessly as rainwater pours through openings in the roof, soaking their belongings and turning the floors to mud.
"There are other people that are not as lucky as we are," said Rosalie Co, one of three Food For The Poor donors who recently traveled with the charity to Guatemala and met Flor and her family.
"It's our mission now that we have the opportunity to give," added Co, Divisional Coordinator for the Sunsational Division of DaVita Kidney Care. "We complain about our furniture. They don't even have furniture. We complain about space. They're all cramped up together as a family. I could not imagine living in a situation like that."
The purpose of the donors' trip was to see how MannaPack rice meals, just like the ones they packed in April at Food For The Poor's Join The Pack, are literally saving lives.
Flor is grateful for the rice meals, which are easily cooked into a casserole with boiling water and provide essential vitamins and nutrition.
But it was clear from the moment the donors met Flor and her family that they needed more help.
Flor's husband abandoned her and their child. But she works hard to provide what little she can for her daughter by selling used clothing and items on the streets of her community. She is proud she can send her daughter to school.
When Co asked Flor about her needs, Flor hesitated for a moment before the tears started flowing. Co put a handkerchief in Flor's hand. It belonged to Co's mother, but Co said she recognized that Flor needed it more than she did.
Co said it was important to see that Food For The Poor is not only meeting the nutritional needs of families like Flor's but also providing other support, including housing.
"This has been heartbreaking to see," said Juan Diaz, co-owner of Bravo Supermarkets, who accompanied his wife, Eliza, on the two-day trip with Food For The Poor. "I never expected to see anyone living in a situation like this. This is a calling from God to do something."
Food For The Poor began working in Guatemala in 1986. Since then, the charity has built 2,118 homes in the country, thanks to compassionate donors.
The new homes for Flor and her family will be among 20 built in the area by Caritas.
Homes funded by Food For The Poor donors are built on cement foundations with concrete block walls and galvanized sheet roofs, so families can feel safe from storms. Each home has two bedrooms and a living area, sanitation and a water component.
"Flor benefits from the MannaPack, but now this whole community, including Flor, is going to benefit from homes that Food For The Poor is going to build with Caritas," said Food For The Poor Vice President Mark Khouri, who traveled with the group. "That's what it's all about – helping the least of our brothers and sisters."
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily 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. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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