Since April 2020, our Feed the Families Emergency Response program has been delivering critical food supplies to thousands of desperate families throughout the San Miguel de Allende municipality.
The food packages are designed to feed entire families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. FTH is the only NGO in this part of Mexico capable of purchasing, packaging, and distributing food for the 20,000 people we have been helping.
As of the end of May 2021, 109,485 food bags—ingredients for 10.8 million meals—have been distributed, helping 3,285 families avoid starvation.
There is no vaccine against poverty. It will take a long time for devastated families and communities to overcome their losses. The program will continue as long as there is a need, and as long as resources allow. This is only possible thanks to our generous donors, our incredibly hard working staff, operational direction and moral support by our board of trustees, and help from the San Miguel de Allende Dirección de Cultura y Tradiciones.
Reflecting on a Year of Challenges
At this time one year ago, we undertook a mission that truly tested our organization’s ability to go above and beyond anything we could have predicted.
Schools were closed by the COVID-19 pandemic, so our hot school meals program operations ceased. Did that mean we shut down and went home? No. People were desperate. So many immediately lost their source of income. Children still needed those important, healthy meals. Their families did too. We had to find another way to aid the communities we typically support. All while following new safety protocols.
The Feed the Hungry team quickly retooled all its activity to distribute food to the families of the children whom we normally serve. Every aspect of operations was affected: food procurement, packaging, delivering, identifying beneficiaries, and more. Without our usual volunteer packers and drivers, staff workload increased. Vacations were cancelled. Everyone was doing their share, and then some.
As we reflect on the past year, we are more grateful than ever for our incredible staff, for our relationships in the communities and with the local government, and especially, our donors. Working together, we have been able to provide critical nutritional support for more than 20,000 hungry residents of all ages.
Here is a brief timeline of what the past year was like at Feed the Hungry San Miguel:
March 11: The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic.
March 17: Schools close in San Miguel de Allende; FTH suspends operations of school meals program.
March 17-24: FTH operations team and board members meet to plan response to the emergency.
March 30: Reconfigured warehouse; procured essential supplies and food. Began packing food bags with basics of disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and dry meal ingredients.
In just one day, operations staff weighed and packed 500 food bags of 14 kilos each, for immediate distribution.
March 31: Feed the Families program launched. 1,796 food bags were distributed in 19 rural communities and 9 neighborhood in San Miguel.
Over the next ten days, 5,500 food bags were distributed.
FTH unloads a 40-foot trailer of additional supplies for the growing need for food countywide.
May: FTH adds more communities and recipients to food bag distribution, including NGOs and individuals championing their neighborhoods. Now distributing food to 37 communities, 14 charities to feed 20,000.
June: Began packaging and distributing smaller food bags with eight basic products for smaller families and the elderly, who mostly live alone in the communities.
July: City government staff who had been supporting FTH in the warehouse had to return to their regular duties. Mothers who are cooks in our school kitchens were enlisted to take over the roles the staff from the city had been performing.
August: FTH nutritionists provide instruction and leaflets on nutrition, hygiene, proper use of masks, and hand washing techniques.
October: Six months into the program. 55,446 food bags (590 tons), equivalent to 6,526,630 meals distributed to the needy.
By year end: Food bags dispensed: 70,432 (687 tons) with ingredients for 7,767,390 meals. FTH nutritionists had delivered 150 workshops for 3,500 women on topics such as diabetes prevention and how to make creative use of the ingredients provided in the donated food bags.
February 1: Began distribution of 1.3 million masks donated by Motus Integrated Technologies of Michigan and Consolidated Aerospace Manufacturing of Brea, CA. Mask were provided to charitable organizations, hospitals, and the local Mayor’s office for distribution across the county to those who need them.
Food bags now include masks and recipe cards. Instructional videos are provided to mothers via WhatsApp.
April 1: More than 90,000 food bags—900 tons—ingredients for 10 million meals have been distributed!
With schools closed, children are no longer receiving a nutritious meal through our traditional school meals program. And with so many families struggling to feed themselves after losing their sources of income, our Feed the Families/ Comida Para Familias initiative was launched in late March in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Every week, Feed the Hungry San Miguel provides thousands of packages of food for needy families. Deliveries of close to 4,000 packages are made to 37 communities, many of which are very difficult to reach. In addition, six charities pick up more than 200 packages, and nearly 200 more are picked up by a dozen other NGOs and concerned neighborhood advocates, for distribution to their beneficiaries.
In total, as of October 23, 53,246 packages of food and hygiene supplies (574 tons) have been distributed. That represents 6,328,630 meals.
In addition to delivering pantries of nutritious ingredients, our incredibly dedicated staff also provides instructions on how to prepare healthy meals with the products provided, and demonstrations of safe practices such as hand-washing and wearing of masks.
We don’t know when things will get back to “normal” or when we will be able to resume the hot meals program in our school kitchens. But what we do know is that hunger doesn’t take a holiday, so we plan to continue the operation, at a monthly cost of $100,000- $150,000 USD, as long as resources allow.
We hope that we can count on your support!
San Miguel de Allende is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Mexico attracts millions of visitors every year. The economy, which relies heavily on tourism, was quickly shattered when the region came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hotels and restaurants shuttered, weddings postponed, flights cancelled, borders closed, public transportation halted, and household workers furloughed. Without safety nets, staggering job losses don’t take long to translate to hunger and deprivation.
According to a study by Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), the effects of the coronavirus on the economy has nearly doubled the number of Mexicans that have fallen into extreme poverty. Malnourished people are less resistant to the highly contagious virus, contributing to a much greater health crisis.
Feed the Hungry San Miguel’s Comida Para Familias
For 35 years, Feed the Hungry San Miguel has been dedicated to alleviating childhood hunger by providing hot, healthy meals every school day in the school kitchens they operate in 36 mostly rural communities. Every year, nearly one million meals are served.
When schools in Mexico closed in March, those operations ceased. But Feed the Hungry did not rest. Staff and board members immediately convened to address the dire situation that would soon be faced by families that had lost jobs and by children who would no longer receive the critical nutrition provided by the school meals.
Thanks to established relationships with state and city government, school administrators, and other NGOs, Feed the Hungry was able to quickly pivot to providing food for entire families, launching Comida Para Familias. This emergency operation provides food and hygiene supplies to as many as 20,000 people, including the elderly and the disabled, who are struggling during the pandemic. Each package contains healthy, shelf-stable food to feed a family of five for two weeks, as well as soap and bleach.
Feed the Hungry staff and eight city workers who pack and deliver the supplies are equipped with masks, face shields, gloves, and disinfectant. The city is providing significant help, facilitating the coordination of packers, drivers, and transportation equipment to provide an efficient and speedy delivery of the food packages.
In the first 10 weeks of the operation, more than 15,000 pantries were distributed (5 tons per day). To respond to urgent requests for help from other NGOs and grassroots groups, arrangements were made to provide food pantries to them to distribute to their beneficiaries. Expanding Feed the Hungry’s outreach beyond the 36 school communities and 7 charities typically served.
Between late March and the end of June, food for an equivalent of 1,097,909 meals were distributed throughout the municipality. Without exaggeration, this continues to be a monumental task. By the end of August, the program will have provided food for nearly 2,500,000 meals, delivering 207,334 kilos (457,093 pounds) of ingredients to desperate families.
This is the “new normal” at Feed the Hungry. They plan to continue the Comida Para Familias operation, at a monthly cost of $100,000- $150,000 USD, as long as resources allow. Emergency funds are being rapidly depleted.
Schools in San Miguel de Allende are expected to reopen in mid-August. It is not known if FTH will be allowed to reopen the school kitchens at that time. Or how long until the parents will be back to work. Therefore, the organization will gear up to resume the school meals program. Running these two programs simultaneously will require not only adequate funding, but also ingenuity to address the logistical challenges, while keeping staff and volunteers safe.
Because of the pandemic, Feed the Hungry is working harder than ever to help struggling communities. To learn more or make a donation, visit feedthehungrysma.org.
Over these four days, a total of 1,563 food packages were delivered in the communities of Salitrillo, Estancia de San Antonio, Tres Palmas, San Cristóbal, Montecillo, Nuevo Pantoja, La Cuadrilla, Ejido de Tirado, Las Cañas, and Misión Chichimecas in Plan Juárez.
Our reach in delivering food packages during this contingency has expanded through liaisons with several NGOs in
San Miguel. The beneficiaries of some of these organizations are now receiving food for their families. This week we began with families in Alcocer sponsored by Mujeres en Cambio, an NGO that enables rural girls to continue their education beyond grade school.
We completed the third round of our every-two week deliveries of food to needy communities. This morning our chefs Valentin Patlán and Luis Eduardo, along with Miguel Rodriguez from City Hall, brought a total of 1,759 food packages to families in the communities of Sosnabar, La Campana, San Francisco, Fajardo de Bocas, Los González, Puerto De Sosa,
La Medina, Marroquín de Abajo, La Palmilla, Loma de Cocinas, Pozo de Balderas, Peñón de los Baños, Palo Colorado, Los Galvanes, and Los Ricos de Abajo.
Also delivered were food bags for charitable organizations that we support: Escuela de Educación Especial SMA, ALMA, and Mexiquito orphanage.
Feed the Hungry Feeds the Families: Update #3
Thank you for your support of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is an update on how we are addressing the great need in San Miguel de Allende. With schools closed and so many out of work and struggling to put food on the table, we have expanded our operations and outreach to include entire families.
A “normal” day at Feed the Hungry during the pandemic:
This is the “new normal” here at Feed the Hungry. We plan to continue to support as many as 4,000 families in the San Miguel area every two weeks, through August 2020, assuming that schools reopen in August and we then resume normal operations of our school lunch program – or as long as resources allow. Every month, we are spending more than $100,000 dollars ($2.3 million pesos) to buy ingredients and prepare the emergency food bags for families.
At this time, we are able to provide food for families in 37 communities every two weeks, and also deliver food packages to seven local charities. This is made possible through your donations, our incredibly hard working staff, operational direction and moral support by our board of trustees, and the Dirección de Cultura y Tradiciones from City Hall’s assistance with trucks, drivers, gas, and maintenance,
Thank you for helping us Feed the Families during these challenging times!
This week a total of 1,632 food bags were delivered to the communities of Nuevo Cimatario, Salitrillo, Tres Palmas, San Cristóbal, Alonso Yáñez, Montecillo de Nieto, San José de Allende, Ejido Tirado, and Las Cañas, Nuevo Pantoja, Misión Chichimecas in Plan Juárez, La Cuadrilla, San Miguel de Viejo, and to charities IREE, Centro Infantil, and SOME.
Our mission continues! We started this week with deliveries throughout the communities of Jalpa, Sosnabar, and La Campana. Over 400 food packages containing food staples and cleaning supplies were received by moms, the elderly, and the disabled in these different communities.
With Giving Tuesday, a generosity movement that began on May 5, we launched a campaign to help up continue to deliver critical food and supplies to thousands of people in need around San Miguel de Allende. A generous donor pledged to MATCH donations to Feed the Hungry, dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000 dollars! Click here to double your donation in May!
This week, Feed the Hungry San Miguel, completed the monumental task of delivering thousands of food packages to rural communities and charitable organizations in San Miguel de Allende.
We distributed 2,574 packages to families in 24 communities: Landeta, Sosnabar, La Campana, Jalpa, Moral de Puerto de Nieto, San Francisco, Clavellinas, Fajardo de Bocas, Los González, Puerto de Sosa, Loma de Cocinas, La Palmilla, Alcocer, Palo Colorado, and Galvanes.
The following communities received their second delivery of bi-weekly food packages: San José de Allende, Alonso Yañez, Salitrillo, Marrquín, Nuevo Pantoja, Montecillo de Nieto, Las Cañas, Cuadrilla, and Los Ricos. Extra packages for the elderly and extremely needy people were also distributed.
Food packages were delivered to five charities that serve orphans, the elderly, and the disabled: Mexiquito, Santa Julia, ALMA, IREE, AND EEESMA.
We are committed to these citizens in need and will continue to do so as long we have the resources.
We could not do it without your support! Just a $25 dollar donation helps us feed a family of 5 for two weeks.
Food and Books! Today, on International Book Day, over 350 families who received food-packages in the communities of Palo Colorado, Galvanes, Alonso Yañez, San Jose de Allende, and Nuevo Cimatario also received a book. The Direccion de Cultura y Tradiciones of San Miguel De Allende kindly brought boxes filled with books and our volunteer packers and staff prepared the pantries and sent off a book in each bag.
Feed the Hungry San Miguel began this week’s operation by delivering food-packages in the communities of Jalpa, Sosnabar, and La Campana. Close to 2,000 people benefited from your donations just today. We could not do this without your support!
Just a $25 dollar donation helps us feed a family of five for two weeks.
Thanks to a generous donation from Casita Linda of $25,000USD, we are now able to provide food packages in Landeta. This community, which is not in our school meals program, was therefore not on our usual delivery route. Casita Linda asked for our help to support the needy there, and on April 17, we began bi-weekly delivery of food packages to the families.
Today a total of 130 food packages were delivered by Feed the Hungry to families in the communities of Pantoja Allende, Plan Juárez (Misión Chichimecas), and San Miguel de Viejo. As a result, 650 people will have food to eat for two weeks.
San Miguel de Allende municipal trucks and Feed the Hungry vehicles loaded with 677 packages arrived to seven colonias, where we distributed enough food for 3,385 people. These were the communities of Tres Palmas, San Cristóbal, Estancia de San Antonio, Peñon de Los Baños, La Medina, Ejído de Tirado, and Nuevo Pantoja.
Feed the Hungry San Miguel continues to deliver food packages to the colonias in our community. Today, we are taking 472 food packages – close to 6 tons of goods – to La Cuadrilla, Los Ricos de Abajo, Marroquín de Abajo, Las Cañas, and Palo Colorado. Working hand-in-hand with the Municipal Presidency of San Miguel de Allende, we were able to provide food-pantries to 2,500 people for two weeks in these communities.
This morning at 7:30 am, the first truck was loaded to deliver 5 tons of food to four communities in San Miguel de Allende. The communities are San Jose de Allende, Nuevo Cimatario, Alonso Yanez, and Montecillo de Nieto. We would like to express our gratitude to the Municipal Presidency of the city for joining efforts with drivers, trucks and volunteers who are right now busy with the deliveries and packing!
In addition, Maestra Patricia Palacios of the charity Centro Infantíl de Los Angeles, coordinated delivery of 140 food packages to mothers in the colonias of Santa Cruz de la Paz, Adolfo López Mateos, Santa Julia, Pedro Moreno, and Colonia Providencia y San Rafael.
On March 16, the Governor of Guanajuato State announced that starting on March 17, schools throughout the state would be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boys and girls in the poorest communities of the municipality would no longer receive a nutritious school meal from Feed the Hungry.
The Board of Feed the Hungry San Miguel immediately set to work to create a strategy to help not only those children, but also their families. With the closure of not only schools but also businesses, and the stay-at-home orders, most families lost their only sources of income.
We redirected our efforts and resources to distribute food as safely and efficiently as possible in the communities within the San Miguel de Allende metro area and the rural areas. Working with the city government, we quickly retooled operations and procurement to address this crisis. Thanks to the herculean efforts of our incredible staff, deliveries of food packages for families began on March 31, after a massive packaging job done by FTH staff and volunteers provided by the city.