EL SALVADOR: More than 160 families have access to better nutrition thanks to Feed My Starving Children rice-meal shipment
(MissionNewswire) More than 160 families in San Salvador, El Salvador have access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” The rice-meal donation was provided and distributed by the Laura Vicuña Pro Education Foundation (FUNELAVI).
More than 85 percent of the recipients of the rice-meal donation were single mothers who had three to five children and were struggling to feed their families. They live in poverty in gang and crime-infested areas and are challenged by conditions of poverty. The Salesian sisters with FUNELAVI provided these mothers with 10 bags of rice-meals each month and instructed them how to prepare it for their families. The donated rice-meals are provided to ensure these families receive proper nutrition and a balanced diet.
In San Salvador, there is both a serious lack of availability and access to food as well as difficulty in obtaining healthy foods. Many people suffer from malnutrition deficits brought on by an excess of foods that have low nutritional quality because they are high in sugars and fats.
Due to the lack of food and poor diet from what is available, there is a high prevalence of chronic malnutrition, stunting, anemia and other micronutrient deficiencies in childhood. There is also a high prevalence of excess weight and obesity among adults. This generates large economic burdens and losses to the country and barriers to achieving the development of people in a sustainable way, causing serious health and nutrition problems in the population.
“It is important that families have access to healthy nutrition so children are able to grow and are able to take part in school and other activities,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian feeding programs not only help families with a balanced diet, but they also allow students to focus on getting an education without worrying about where they will find their next meal.”
The ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children has resulted in 40-foot containers of fortified rice-meals being shipped to Salesian sites around the globe. Feed My Starving Children provides the food and Salesian Missions takes care of the cost and logistics of shipping each container from Feed My Starving Children warehouses to the destination country. Salesian Missions also works to help identify where the greatest needs are at any given time. The partnership began in early 2006 when the first 40-foot container was donated to and shipped by Salesian Missions for programs in Sri Lanka.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America, along with Honduras and Guatemala. The murder rate in El Salvador rose more than 44 percent in the beginning months of 2014 when compared to the same time period the year before. In 2016, San Salvador was named the murder capital of the world, seeing more murders and violent crime than any other city. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country, and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
Crime is often associated with poverty and close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in El Salvador is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
Photo courtesy Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions).
Salesian Missions – El Salvador
World Bank – El Salvador