At 5am, just before a warm Guatemalan dawn, 30 School of Hope staff and scholarship students gathered sleepy-eyed to face a day of incredibly tough but rewarding work.
It has been a wild few days here for us in Jocotenango. Increasingly stricter social restrictions, food staple shortages, and constant concern about the ability of our suppliers to deliver have kept us concerned for our families. We started with Plan A ,and I guess we were up to Plan X by the time we’d overcome all of the twists and turns of the logistical challenge.
Along the way, we had to shift from our original plan of food vouchers to food hampers, which meant bagging 12,203 lbs of food in 6 hours. And with Guatemala’s strict social distancing and hygiene regime in place, we disinfected each and every product in every bag.
Huge thanks goes to La Bodegona Supermercado, who turned around our food orders with short notice, in the middle of a crisis, with reduced staff and work hours. Their fair pricing and assistance helped to ensure that none of our families will go hungry.
The hampers’ contents were restricted, as in all countries right now, to what was available. But, with a lot of negotiation, charm, and persistence we gathered a good variety of filling foods, both nutritious and liked by our families:
- 2 lbs of black beans
- 5 lbs of rice
- 10 bags of pasta
- 3 lbs of sugar
- 1 large bottle of cooking oil
- 3 lbs. of incaparina (vitamin enriched porridge)
- 7 packages of instant soup
- 3 lbs. of oatmeal
- 4 lbs of cornmeal (for tortillas, tamales, etc.)
- 1 lb of powdered milk
- 1 box of Margarine
- 1 large bottle of hand soap
By 2pm, we’d distributed 315 hampers. We applied strict social distancing of two meters apart for collection, and families were instructed to only send one adult and to wear a mask. The team work, passion, sense of comaraderie, and commitment to work hard until it was done was amazing. In everyone’s minds were the faces of our students, and knowing they will not go hungry in the next month kept us all going.
Currently, travel between states in Guatemala is prohibited, and as we have 15 or so families that live in a different state than The School of Hope, we have an additional challenge to reach them. We may be able to get supplies through checkpoints to them, as we will be transporting aid, but if we get turned around then we will have to wait on those families until restrictions are lifted. Rest-assured when we can, we will reach them.
This food rescue program is to feed not just our students, but the families they live with. We will continue to keep sending food hampers all the way through this crisis. If you or someone you know can spare $25 to cover one of the family food hampers, please get in touch. You can either donate directly from the green 'donate' button at the top of this page or get in touch with us at email@example.com or contact Brien Ashdown, Executive Director of EFTC USA:
Phone: (907) 888-9171
Please be assured that every penny you donate will directly put food on the plates of our families who otherwise might not eat today. Thank you.