GUATEMALA: More than 100 families receive food aid
Salesian parish in San Benito Petén provides food aid to more than 100 families
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries at the Salesian parish in San Benito Petén, Guatemala, are providing food aid to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 families have been provided food support thanks to help from the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, Spain, and Canadian Food for Children.
The Salesian mission in San Benito Petén was started in 2011 to provide education and social development programs for at-risk youth. Salesian missionaries also operate a summer youth program that offers classes in Spanish and English, mathematics, computers, arts and crafts, and music and dance, as well as provides organized games for participants. Operated out of a Salesian youth center in San Benito, youth in the program are able to get away from difficult home situations or the streets to engage in productive activities in a family atmosphere that fosters peace and stability.
Father Giampiero De Nardi, an Italian Salesian missionary active in San Benito Petén, also recently started a refectory for the poor that aims to reach the most vulnerable. The refectory is helping hundreds of people who are without resources.
“During the pandemic, we want to continue helping the most vulnerable people,” said Fr. De Nardi. “To this end, the arrival of a container with non-perishable food will be essential in these days. In addition, we want to buy vegetables, condiments and some meat, so that families can eat meat once a week.”
Fr. De Nardi added, “The solidarity of the population is seen in the collaboration they offer us with the delivery of non-perishable products that are then distributed. Rice, beans, eggs, oil and pasta arrive every day at the refectory thanks to the generosity of the population.”
Rural poverty hasn’t changed much in Guatemala during the last 20 years, according to the World Bank. While 70 percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line, the number is as high as 91 percent for its indigenous population. Many rural residents in Guatemala have only completed sixth grade. This is largely due to the expenses required to send children to schools which are often located far from their homes.
Salesian missionaries working and living in the country have been providing for the basic needs of Guatemala’s youth while helping to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. They work extensively with poor youth and their families at youth centers, orphanages, parishes, and primary and secondary schools as well as operate technical schools, vocational training workshops and two universities in the country.
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Salesian Missions – Guatemala
World Bank – Guatemala