Facts About Our Work in Colombia

Food For The Poor (FFTP) began serving in Colombia in 2014, partnering with the Order of Malta, which is one of the oldest lay religious orders of the Catholic Church. The Order of Malta is a neutral, impartial and apolitical organization that facilitates the distribution of needed medical supplies within the South American country.

In 2019, FFTP formed a partnership with Minuto de Dios, a Colombian nonprofit that for more than 60 years has provided counseling, job training and homes to families living in poverty. Together, FFTP and Minuto de Dios have been helping the tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have fled their home country to escape shortages of food, water and medicine, and ultimately achieve a better life in Colombia.

In March 2020, COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, became a pandemic and FFTP responded quickly to the crisis. By the end of June, there were nearly 92,000 coronavirus cases in Colombia, according to worldometers.info. Venezuelan migrants who fled their home country’s economic collapse are now struggling to return. Bridges on the border cities of Cucuta and Arauca, Colombia, are closed, leaving migrants stranded.

  • The charity provided emergency food packs and hygiene kits to 25,353 families in dire need of aid. FFTP, through a partnership with Matthew 25: Ministries, created 144 jobs for vulnerable Colombians who are making 288,000 facial masks. The masks will be distributed to the most vulnerable and to areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.
  • 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.
  • Food is a critical need in Colombia. Red cloths hang in the windows of families who don’t have anything to eat. FFTP has purchased additional tractor-trailer loads of food to provide lifesaving relief.

In the first six months of 2020, FFTP has shipped 12 tractor-trailer loads of nonperishable food and medical equipment to Colombia.

FFTP also is providing support to several Venezuelan migrant care centers throughout Colombia. These include psychological and emotional support along with economic assistance to support viable micro-enterprise projects.

The Palma Real Sustainable Community Development Project is being implemented in Granada, Meta, which is located nearly two hours south of Villavicencio, the state’s capital. The sustainable community will have 60 three-bedroom houses with clean water, sanitation and electricity.

  • FFTP will build an Integral Development Center, which will deliver services to the community and assist with social development, income-generating activities and training, as well as other social programs.

FFTP, with the help of the Order of Malta, is providing food to children in La Guajira. La Guajira borders Venezuela and encompasses most of the Guajira Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea; it is one of the most vulnerable departments in Colombia where drought has plagued the region for more than a decade. It is home to the indigenous Wayuu people, who are a Native American ethnic group.

  • The Order of Malta distributes aid that includes MannaPack meals to 22 departments of Colombia, including La Guajira and regions in Bogota and El Choco. MannaPack meals also are being provided to Venezuelan migrants and residents of Cucuta where the meals are stored in a food bank and distributed to 11 feeding centers, serving nearly 8,000 people daily.

Through FFTP, the Order of Malta is in the process of implementing the City of God Entre Nubes Sustainable Development Project in San Cristobal, Bogota. The sustainable community will have 36 two-bedroom homes with clean water, sanitation and electricity. FFTP will build an Integral Development Center, which will deliver services to the community and assist with social development, income-generating activities and training, as well as other social programs.

Colombia is located within the northwest corner of South America and is the continent’s most populous Spanish-speaking nation. Roughly twice the geographic size of France, Colombia is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.

The population is approximately 49 million residents. The language is Spanish, and its largest religion is Catholicism. The currency is the peso and it is South America’s third-largest economy with a GDP per capita of$14,400.