Food For The Poor Provides Reliable Source of Food As Hunger Spikes
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 27, 2020) Food For The Poor is responding to spiking hunger and poverty due to the coronavirus in the countries it serves, where already dire conditions are becoming even worse.
Since mid-March, the charity has sent more than 300 tractor-trailer loads of aid, including food, personal hygiene items, medical supplies, medicine, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. The challenge is to meet immediate needs and prepare the poor with a reliable food source in the months to come.
Those shipments include 80 containers of rice to Haiti, a gift from the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The aid comes as the United Nations' World Food Program estimates the coronavirus' global impact will double the number of people experiencing severe hunger to 265 million in 2020.
"Our partners in the countries have said the need for food is their number one priority," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine. "We've been preparing for what's happening in these countries. We've shipped food directly from our donors and are purchasing additional food and staging it so we're able to get it very quickly to the families who need it most."
Food For The Poor also is working with longtime partner Feed My Starving Children to pack MannaPack meals by machine after stay-at-home orders and health concerns meant it could no longer rely on volunteers to pack meals. The charity expects to receive 75 containers of MannaPack meals as a result, starting in July.
In Haiti, a flow of thousands of Haitian workers returning from the Dominican Republic is expected to spark an outbreak in cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. At the same time, the country is dealing with lingering violence and protests, sparked last year by people upset with the government over inflation, and food and fuel shortages.
Despite the challenges, Food For The Poor-Haiti staffers are increasing food distributions. The charity has purchased food through local partners to feed 4,000 families in three extremely impoverished areas. In another instance earlier this month, nearly 900 people received food to feed their families for the next 15 days.
"This food will do so much for me and all of my kids and my neighbors," said a grateful woman, carrying a box of MannaPack meals.
In the last week, the number of COVID-19 cases nearly doubled in Haiti and Honduras, according to worldometers.info, a website that tracks the coronavirus. Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua also saw sharp increases in cases.
In Guatemala and El Salvador, residents are displaying white flags not as a means of surrender, but to seek food. In towns and villages across the two countries, hundreds of signs have gone up asking for food, and people have taken to the streets to wave white flags in distress, according to news reports.
Because of the unprecedented and widespread impacts of the pandemic, the charity is significantly increasing the critical aid it already provides to the countries it serves, where safety nets don't exist to help poor families.
On May 5, the charity's donors answered the call for help on #GivingTuesdayNow, a day of global giving to help families across the world devastated by the pandemic. Donations will help provide more than 6 million meals to hungry families in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Food For The Poor also is preparing for the probability of having to deal with a multi-crisis event as the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts Monday, June 1. Click www.foodforthepoor.org/hurricaneseason2020 for the latest on how the charity is securing life-saving meals for hungry families as it prepares for hurricane season.
In Jamaica, many people are furloughed or have lost jobs because hotels and the tourism industry have closed because of the pandemic. As a result, many households are relying on one income. Even frontline workers are finding it difficult to buy food.
Teeka Granville, a mother of two girls, ages 11 and 4, said she was grateful.
"Though I am employed, it has been on and off and very bad since COVID-19 because I don't get to work as much," she said. "The children are now at home and they are always hungry. These items will go a long way. Thank you very much and may God bless you all."
In Colombia, hundreds of Venezuelans who fled their country's economic collapse are now making the tough decision to return to Venezuela as they lack incomes and face eviction.
The trek back to Venezuela is extremely difficult and takes multiple days, and is made even more arduous without the ability to purchase essential food and health supplies during the journey.
"There are approximately 13 million people and 1.4 million migrants in Colombia living in the most difficult situation of their lives due to COVID-19," said Fr. Camilo Bernal Hadad, Vice President of Minuto de Dios, one of the charity's partners. "Food For The Poor and its donors have been a great light of hope for the poor in Colombia."
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, 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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