We hope that you are well and healthy amidst all of the chaos that continues to be the pandemic. We want to reach out to you with a specific request, and to share additional information about the current state of affairs in our town of Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala.
As some of you may have seen on our social media pages, Guatemala is gravely feeling the economic impact of the coronavirus. The people we serve in our town are considered to fall into the extreme poverty designation; meaning on a “normal” day, they live on less than $1 a day. During the pandemic however, no one has been able to work. Guatemala has enforced strict national curfews and traveling restrictions that now make it nearly impossible to leave town or circulate in the streets. In addition to this, the price of food has been impacted as the distributors and small businesses try to make up for the decreased sales. Here in the USA, almost all homes are blessed to have a refrigerator and a pantry to help them last at least a finite amount of time during a quarantine or stay at home order. In contrast in Guatemala, most families buy food each day at the market or neighborhood bodega and do not have anywhere to store excess food where it would be safe from rodents. All of these factors have created a hunger crisis in the country that extends far beyond the grocery aid we typically provide. A flag system has been established around Guatemala and white flags are to be displayed in homes that are suffering from hunger and are in need of immediate food aid. Each week when we deliver grocery aid we have seen increasing white flags. We want to do everything in our power to feed the people of our town.
While we continue to provide our daily meal delivery to the elderly in their homes, we want to increase our impact in the community through expanding our grocery aid. While there are currently limits on food items, similar to what we have been experiencing in the USA, we have found distributors who are willing to sell us large quantities of food to expand programs. We want to ensure the safety of those we serve and our volunteers while increasing our aid. As such, we have added additional safety measures and social distancing for our new expanded grocery aid protocols.
That being said, we are asking for your help to provide food to those most in need. People are quite literally starving and it has been predicted that the coronavirus will kill more people from starvation than viral deaths in Guatemala. We have found ourselves in a unique opportunity with feet on the ground and connections at hand to allow us to make a widespread impact during this crisis.
At this time, we are seeking to raise a minimum of $5,000 for immediate food aid. For just $5 a bag, we can provide a family with 5 lbs corn, 2 lbs beans, 2 lbs rice, 2 lbs salt, 2 lbs of pasta, 1 large bag of a high protein fortified porridge mix (incaparina), a bottle of oil, and 3 packages of instant coffee. Our goal is to be able to provide a minimum of 125 bags for 8 week and thus how we have set our goal at $5,000. If we are able to raise more money and increase the number of grocery bags per week we are prepared to do so.
You have received this letter as a consistent supporter of our organization. We ask you consider donating to this special project during a time of immense need. A donation of even just $5 will feed one family for a week. We also ask you to forward this information to your friends who may also share your heart for missions and serving abroad. Donations can be made instantly through our Facebook page with zero transaction fees https://www.facebook.com/harvestinghappinessguate/. You will also see that a fundraising campaign has been started on Facebook and you can directly donate through the post on our page as well. You may also make donations through PayPal on our website, however there is a transaction fee. If you prefer to send a check, please contact [email protected] with the donation amount so we can account for you in our campaign and plan our aid accordingly. We also would love to ask for your prayers during this difficult time for the community of Santa Maria de Jesus.
Thank you for partnering with us and allowing us to serve our neighbors. With love and gratitude,