Coronavirus: Food For The Poor Provides Food Baskets to Families as Hunger Intensifies
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2020) As a global pandemic makes finding food even harder for those living in extreme poverty, Food For The Poor is providing food baskets directly to tens of thousands of hungry children and families in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Those baskets or bags, often accompanied by personal hygiene products and other relief items such as masks, will benefit more than 97,000 families in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua.
It is the charity's latest effort to assure destitute families have a reliable food supply, all made possible by generous donors and a network of partners overseeing the distribution.
"It's a crisis. The needs are just as great, if not greater, than they were six months ago," Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said. "We're in constant contact with all of the countries we serve and they are not anywhere back to normal yet. We thank God for the generosity of our donors who have opened their hearts to those who need our help."
The coronavirus pandemic that has gripped many of the countries and devastated their economies shows no sign of waning, leaving many worrying if they will have enough to eat.
Since mid-March, the charity has shipped 580 containers of food and other critical relief supplies, including 200 containers of rice from the Republic of China (Taiwan) that were sent to Haiti, as well as purchased the equivalent of 27 containers of food from businesses and suppliers in the countries. An additional 68 containers will be shipped over the coming weeks.
The food baskets are different in each country, with bags filled with food and items tailored to their needs. In Colombia, the white or clear plastic bags bear the logos of FFTP and partner Minuto de Dios. In Guatemala, masks are added to the food bags. In Haiti, bags of rice display the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Some Venezuelan migrants in Cucuta, near the Colombia-Venezeula border, are in such dire need, they cried when they received food baskets from FFTP.
"Some of them could not believe what they were receiving," said Sister Ney Toro of the New Life Foundation, a local partner of the Order of Malta that helped distribute the relief packages.
"When they receive rice, people are moved," she added. "With this package, people do not have words to express the satisfaction they feel. It is a blessing to have the support of the Order of Malta and Food For The Poor. As they say, there is more joy in giving than in receiving."
In the Dominican Republic, FFTP is providing 2,000 vulnerable families in Puerto Plata and Santiago with much-needed food and hygiene items.
"The help of Food For The Poor is essential to the lives of the people we cannot get aid to yet," said Francisco Colón, Executive Director of partner Cáritas Puerto Plata.
"We knew poverty existed here, but this virus is threatening to amplify the effects of this poverty because those who once attempted to provide for their families are now stuck at home by governmental order and for fear of their lives," he added. "When the people receive the care packages, they give so much thanks to God."
In Haiti, the charity has provided funding for prevention kits, including masks, and a one-month's supply of food to 1,000 families, including artisan households in Port-au-Prince and beekeepers in five rural communities in the western part of the country. The artisan households also received honey purchased from the beekeepers.
Ricka Alissa Barron, a staff member of Food For The Poor-Haiti, coordinated the food basket project in Haiti, and has witnessed the joy when families receive them.
"I can attest that they are filled with gratitude for the mark of generosity and kindness," Barron said. "The leaders usually call me to thank me for the food assistance, reiterating how delighted the beneficiaries are to have received food during such a critical time. I always tell them that I am just a vessel, and that the true Samaritans in this story are the kind donors."
FFTP partner the American Nicaraguan Foundation has been steadily working to deliver food packages to vulnerable families throughout Nicaragua.
Baskets provided by FFTP donors include beans, rice, corn or corn flour, fortified cereal, sugar, cooking oil, soap, chlorine and an educational pamphlet on COVID-19 preventive measures. These packages are being delivered monthly to 11,230 families through local partners.
In the Berlin neighborhood of the city of Diriamba, Carazo, Nicaragua, Doña Amanda Garcia lives with her two daughters and five grandchildren orphaned since their mother died four years ago from cancer. At 71, she works recycling at a local landfill with her daughters and together they earn the equivalent about $14 to $17 a week.
She is grateful for the food package, which she said helps her family a lot, noting "life is hard." She has learned to stretch the food to make only one or two meals a day because her family is large. FFTP's Raine said it's difficult to imagine how much more dire the situation could get as cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, continue to climb in the countries served by the charity.
"We have been blessed by God," Raine said. "In times of crisis, Food For The Poor has time and time again been able to do its work because of the faithfulness of the donors, the faithfulness of our team and all of the people who deliver the goods to families who need them as soon as possible."
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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