By Donna Fullerton
As San Miguel de Allende is re-emerging from its pandemic shut-down, the presence of more tourists in the historic district does not reflect the very slow transition to normalcy in the rural communities. It will take a long time for devastated families and communities to overcome their losses; there is no vaccine against poverty.
Feed the Hungry San Miguel typically provides hot meals at school kitchens in 36 communities. More than 4,000 children benefit from the program every school day. These children have missed school for more than a year, and it is uncertain when classes will return to a normal schedule, or when we will be allowed to resume the school meals program. But the children have not been forgotten.
Millions of Meals Provided for Hungry Families
After schools closed and many families lost their sources of income, we had to find another way to aid the communities we typically support. The Feed the Families Emergency Response program was launched in early 2020 to provide entire families with food supplies. Thanks to our donors, we have been able to provide deliveries of food staples to more than 20,000 hungry residents of all ages. As of the end of June 2021, ingredients for 11.5 million meals have been distributed, helping 3,285 families avoid starvation.
While Feed the Hungry’s traditional focus has been providing nutrition to school-aged children, the Early Childhood Nutrition program, which addresses the needs of children under the age of four, is also expanding. In addition to providing food to both the mothers and their children, we diagnose and monitor the children’s conditions as well as educate the mothers about proper nutrition. The program expanded to seven communities during the pandemic, and three more communities will be receiving the benefits of the program this year.
“Tested” by a New School Year
We look forward to resuming the hot lunch program upon the full re-openings of schools in the communities we serve. But in many respects, it will be like starting over. Our personnel and budgets will be stretched as never before. Your financial and moral support will be appreciated more than ever!
Here are just some of the challenges we’ll face:
- The 36 school kitchens will need to be inspected, sanitized, restocked, and recertified.
- Reconfiguration of the Feed the Hungry Center to stock, sort, and package ingredients for three distinct meal programs.
- Addition of staff, interns, and volunteers to conduct health assessments of thousands of school children, to reestablish baselines for nutrition reports that are critical to the success of the school meals program.
- Recruitment and training of the paid cooks and volunteers who prepare the school meals, and nutrition and cooking classes for mothers.
We hope that we can continue to count on your support to help us meet these challenges! To learn more about our work or to make a donation, please visit feedthehungrysma.org.