By Anna Monteviller
WMF Peru Field Director
On Sunday, May 24, the Peruvian government extended the mandatory social isolation order until June 31st. This means that ALL movement in ALL public spaces will be restricted for at least another month. I am not fundamentally questioning whether this is necessary, rather to give witness to how extremely difficult of a sacrifice this is and will be to so many Peruvian families who rely on daily wages to provide a subsistence living.
Our friends who live in the most economically vulnerable areas of our city are calling me every day to voice their frustration that they have no way to put food on their tables. And for those who do venture outside their homes to try and sell something and earn a little income, the authorities are being very heavy handed- confiscating their goods, harassing vendors, and making threats.
In many areas the only way to get clean water is to purchase from a tanker truck which drives through a neighborhood and fills up buckets. But immediate payment is always required.
When families can’t pay their electric bill, their service is shut off within hours- making it next to impossible for the children to complete their studies.
When the propane tank runs out of fuel, and without money to purchase another, there is no way for a family to boil rice, beans, nor any kind of protein.
And the government has mandated that until every eligible resident receives the first round of economic stimulus checks, the second round cannot begin. And yet there are many barriers to this process moving forward.
Basic human needs are not being met, and the crisis is growing.
And yet I am also witnessing how many families are coming together to create neighborhood feeding efforts. Here we call this the “common pot.” These kinds of efforts have been a reality in Latin America whenever times get tough.
One young mother who is a friend of Palabra Hecha Hombre and lives in a very poor neighborhood shared with us that her and some other neighbors have grown increasingly concerned for the health of the children from the poorest families in their area. They have put together a team of women who want to start a daily breakfast program for kids in their neighborhood. They will each cook on a rotating volunteer basis, and have collectively donated all the cookware and kitchen materials needed to start this program.
When I heard about this grassroots effort, I was moved to respond.
This campaign will help mobilize efforts like this breakfast program by providing seed funding so that these mothers can buy ingredients for the next 3 months.
Let me tell you about one young boy: while one of our contacts was making rounds, she came across a 7 year old boy who was struggling to carry some firewood. The area where he lives is almost completely arid, located on the outer rim of metropolitan Lima. Located in a desert, and with no municipal water supply, there aren’t any green spaces. There are no sidewalks, no paved roads. It is brown, dusty, and the wooden houses are not well built and spread out over the sand dunes.
His name is Henry. He wasn’t out playing, he wasn’t even running an errand for his mom. He had left home on his own to desperately search for a bag of firewood because his family had no other fuel with which to prepare meals. Somehow, somewhere, he found this bag of wood which was too big for him to carry alone. And yet we found him dragging it along the dusty road back to his house.
Our friends gave Henry a ride to his house and also dropped off a bag of staple food items to bless his family.
This is but one story of how life has changed for many children in Peru, as families’ needs and priorities have shifted. Even young children are going to great lengths to help put the next meal on the table.
This campaign will lighten the burden that many children like Henry are living through right now in Peru. I know this is a big ask.
Please support this second phase of the Blessed to be a Blessing campaign as we will:
- Provide 100 bags of staple food to 100 homes. Approximately 500 people will benefit. ($3,350)
- Provide seed funding for grassroots breakfast programs, serving 30 children daily breakfast (hot grain cereal with milk and egg sandwich) for 3 months. ($1,650)
Funding needed for the campaign’s second phase: $5,000.
Please keep us in your prayers. We are counting on your support. Let’s all help keep this situation from getting worse.
Lastly, thank you for keeping God’s loved ones close to your heart.
God bless and give you what you need in this time of emergency,