News from the Edge

Food Bank Project: A huge success and blessing!

 

Conzuelo (far left) and some recipient families from community education

 

Nurses Alicia and Miguel helping out with food package assembly

As you may remember, the plan was to give out food packages to 100 families in need. We are happy to report that with your donations, we were able to give to 150 families! That translates to about 750 people! We currently have enough funds for these families, through October. The first food package delivery occurred in July and the families look forward to future deliveries. The big smiles on their faces says it all.

We are able to give to various families who are known to ASOSAP, from 15 communities – to chronic patients, pastors, and participants in community education, the children’s dental health project, and those in the infant malnutrition rescue program. In our first delivery, we went to each family’s home. They were very grateful for the food and that we came all the way to them. 

Many commented that the government keeps announcing that they are donating food to those in need, but this assistance hasn’t come to them. They said, in contrast, ASOSAP didn’t make big announcements about sending help and then not come. They just told us once that they were coming and were faithful to this. Below is a story of gratitude from one of the families.

Food Bank Recipient – 30-year-old Mother of 4

“I live with my husband, children, and mother-in-law. My sister-in-law and her children also live with us as she is a single mother. My husband is a day laborer in our village. There is no work for him as the people who would normally hire him do not have work themselves. They cannot travel outside the community to find work as they used to and do not have money for projects. Because of this, we have had to find other ways to feed our family. We have plants that will provide us with some food and we are carefully taking care of them. I do what I can to help, but I can’t really do a lot as I recently had twins and am busy with them.

The food package is a gift from God. We weren’t expecting to receive this as we live far away from San Cristobal and the village is seldom visited. I am very grateful to God and those who donated the food packages. With this, we can sustain ourselves for a few days and provide nutrition to our young children.”

Another group of people that have been especially adversely affected by COVID-19 is the elderly, especially widows. The donation made a big impact on them. Due to their age, they are more at risk if they contract the virus. For health reasons and lack of transport, they cannot leave the village for work or food. They can find herbs or other plants growing locally, but things like sugar and other basic items that were included in the food package cannot be bought without leaving their village. Below is a testimony from one of these widows.

Food Bank Recipient – 57-year-old Widow

““Fifteen years ago my husband died from a chronic illness. I have eight children, but they are all grown and have their own families. They have forgotten about me and do not look after me. I have to work hard to provide for myself. Before, I worked as a nanny. I also occasionally washed clothes for others. I currently don’t have work as the families I worked for are afraid of catching the virus and don’t want anyone else in their homes. Families also don’t have any money to hire me. Even if someone had work for me, I wouldn’t be able to get there. The twice/week public transport is no longer running and paying for private transport is very expensive.

Some days, families give me a plate of food. Other days, I only eat once/day. The food package is a huge blessing to me. I am able to feed myself and survive this situation. May God protect you, bless you, and multiply the support that you are giving to me and my community.”

Young families are also benefitting from this project. Many have a low level of education and don’t have job security. In the face of this pandemic, they are struggling even more.

Sonia (left) and food bank recipient

Food Bank Recipient – 26-year-old Mother of 2

“I finished 4th grade, but my parents didn’t allow me to continue with my studies. I had to help my mother in caring for my younger siblings. I got married at 21 and then had children. My husband is a farmer. He plants corn and beans. Most of the harvest is for our personal use. A small amount is sold at the market. He also travels to other departments to find work. Through this, we have some income to buy the needed supplies to take care of our crops and plant more when needed. Due to COVID-19, there are government imposed travel restrictions and he can no longer travel to find work.

With the little resources that we have, we were able to plant a small amount of corn and beans, but we will not have a good harvest this year. We haven’t had money to buy fertilizer for the crops. We also couldn’t buy an insecticide and the crops are being eaten by the insects. I am grateful to those who made it possible for this food package to be donated to us. Thank you for thinking of us.”

The chronic patients and pastors are another group that were greatly impacted. Both are strong in their faith and it is inspiring to see this. Many chronic patients stated that God has never left them and always sends people to help. They were very moved by how God sent ASOSAP to support them. The pastors also stated that they firmly believe that God will always provide and this time He used ASOSAP to do this. They were very surprised and happy that ASOSAP went all the way to their homes to deliver the food packages. They said they weren’t expecting that.

Many physical needs are met through this project, but spiritual needs are provided for as well. There were opportunities to pray with the families and go over the “Jesus Loves Me” handout.

For all involved this was an emotional and touching time with all that is going on currently in this world. Through the look in people’s eyes it was clear that this was needed and appreciated. Included in August’s food packages was a Bible with the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. We look forward to being able to keep on ministering in this way during the next food bank deliveries.

As mentioned previously, we currently have enough donations to deliver through October. Through this experience we have seen the great need and the importance of continuing. We have given thanks and marveled at your generosity and creative ways of raising funds such as Saturday Market sales.

If you would like to contribute, please remember that no donation or effort is too small. $13 US or $20 CDN, feeds and strengthens one family. God willing, we look forward to working together for more months of this project and seeing the joy in the Pokomchí peoples’ faces.