The newly elected president of Guatemala declared today as an official day of prayer and fasting for the country of Guatemala as we work together to get through these difficult times. This past Monday, he announced a number of measures to slow down the spread of Coronavirus while ensuring that the basic function of the country’s economy continues. Essential services such as hospitals and security, transport of goods, and even the import/export system remain open along with a mandate that stores and gas stations do not close. Restaurants are permitted to function in delivery or drive-through basis, but general public mass transit, as well as all public gatherings of any size, are not permitted. Non-essential jobs such as clothing factories and stores are to be closed until the end of the 14-day shut-down (ending March 31st) upon further evaluation from the government which will occur this coming week.
So what does that mean for the families we serve?
In order to prevent our vulnerable families from contracting the virus, we have been in contact with all of them via phone. We have been keeping up with them asking how they are “bearing the storm” and some are doing well while others not so much. Given that some families live day-to-day in regard to buying foodstuffs for the family, they are struggling because their daily-paid jobs are currently not operating. Some of the families we serve earn their way by selling food from their houses like tortillas or fruits and vegetables they purchased from the local market and carried to their community for distribution. These tiny impacts on the local economy are having a great result on their livelihood as their lack of pay means a lack of food. Those who work outside of the home are also accustomed to, while being out and about during their usual routine, getting food on the go from street vendors instead of packing their meals. Now, everyone is stuck in the house where there is no stockpile of food! Despite this, they go to the stores which continue to be empty because those who have more money are stockpiling, which leaves next to nothing for those who can only buy little-by-little on a daily basis.
After assessing which families have the greatest need, we are going out to purchase goods to deliver to them. Being that there are limitations and rationing in place at stores so everyone can get a little, we are trying to make sure that we can get enough for our families without stockpiling ourselves. However, shopping for up to 13 families in times like these is easier said than done!
In order to help offset the cost of these purchases, we have set up a specific donation link for anyone who wants to help contribute to our efforts of helping sustain the families who literally have no access to food at this moment. While we know that the world is undergoing a fear-based crisis at the moment, we are asking others to help us serve by giving a little and encouraging others to play a part in helping those in most need survive the storm.
Click here to donate or share this post with those you know!
We’d also like to ask for your prayers for the families we serve, the rest of the community and our staff on the ground here in Guatemala as we do our best to help those in need around us. While each region of the world is suffering in one way or another, let’s work together as God’s children to help each other get through this!