Coronavirus: Food For The Poor Partners With Matthew 25: Ministries To Help Countries Make Masks for the Most Vulnerable

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (July 2, 2020) Feeding their children or buying masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 — that’s the choice facing many families living in extreme poverty in the Caribbean and Latin America.

But an initiative in Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana and Honduras is giving women the tools to produce masks to keep their families and communities safe while also earning an income.

It’s all thanks to a collaboration between Food For The Poor and longtime partner Matthew 25: Ministries.

The reusable masks made by the women will help people safely return to work and school when the time comes as well as use public transportation and visit local businesses.

Food For The Poor has partnered with Mercado Global and Caritas on another mask project in Guatemala, where women who received training to make clothing and handbags are now using those skills to make masks that are being provided to healthcare workers across the United States.

Latin America has become the new epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to news reports. Poverty prevents workers from staying home, a circumstance which is exacerbated by overcrowding in cities and inadequate public healthcare. These elements make it difficult to control the outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Families barely generate income to survive under normal circumstances. Many cannot afford face masks to protect themselves,” Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said. “This project will provide the income they need to feed their families while working on something with a higher purpose.”

Here’s how the project will be carried out in the four countries:

In Colombia:

  • Partner Minuto de Dios is providing classrooms and equipment for mask production in four cities for those who don’t have sewing machines at home. Others who have previously received training will work from home.
  • In total, 144 women will work to produce masks for 290,470 of the most vulnerable people in Colombia.
In Guatemala:
  • Supplies such as fabric, thread and needles will be provided to training centers where women will sew 11,520 masks for five communities with high rates of poverty.
  • The families of 60 women are expected to benefit from the sewing jobs.
In Guyana:
  • Twenty-five women will have the opportunity to earn an income by sewing 20,000 masks. Those face coverings will be distributed to 2,500 families living in poverty who can’t afford to buy them. Each family will receive four masks.
  • A good quality mask sells for about $2.35 in Guyana, which is out of reach for families in need with limited income.
  • Food For The Poor-Guyana has been producing and distributing free masks with assistance from community partners and its sewing centers. Since the inception of the pandemic, workers have sewn and distributed 5,000 reusable face masks.
  • Sixty students at these training centers will produce face masks to help promote safety from the coronavirus as well as generate an income to support their families.
In Honduras:
  • Over eight weeks, the project will provide jobs to 51 people in four communities who were jobless because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Each worker is expected to sew 190 masks a week.

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.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com