San Miguel de Allende is beginning to re-emerge from its pandemic shut-down. However, the presence of more tourists in the historic district does not reflect the very slow transition to normalcy in the rural communities. There is no vaccine against poverty. It will take a long time for devastated families and communities to overcome their losses.
Thousands of children who live in poverty have missed school for more than a year, also missing the hot meals provided at 36 school kitchens operated by Feed the Hungry.
In August, some schools will reopen on a voluntarily basis for both students and teachers. Each classroom will have a maximum of 10 students, and class hours will be mornings only. No lunches!
It is uncertain when classes will return to a normal schedule, or when we will be allowed to resume the school meals program. This makes it even more important that we continue to provide families with food supplies through our Feed the Families Emergency Response program, launched in early 2020 in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. After schools closed and many families lost their source of income, we had to find another way to aid the communities we typically support.
Thanks to our donors, we have been able to provide critical nutritional support for more than 20,000 hungry residents of all ages. As of the end of June 2021, 117,114 food bags—ingredients for 11.5 million meals—have been distributed, helping 3,285 families avoid starvation.
Our 2021 Challenges
In many respects, resuming our school meals program will be like starting over. After more than a year, there are new students and new mothers. For example, the women who prepared meals in our kitchens may no longer be available. The same goes for our corps of volunteers.
Here are some of the challenges we’ll face through 2021. Our personnel and budgets will be stretched as never before. Your financial and moral support will be appreciated more than ever!
- After full re-openings of schools in the 36 communities we serve, the school kitchens will need to be inspected, sanitized, restocked, and recertified.
- Reconfiguration of the FTH Center to stock, sort, and package ingredients for three distinct meal programs.
- Enlistment and training of volunteers to reestablish our pool of food packers and delivery drivers.
- Addition of staff, interns, and volunteers to conduct health assessments of more than 4,000 school children in the 36 communities, to reestablish baselines for nutrition reports that are critical to the success of the school meals program.
- Expanding the Early Childhood Nutrition program and continuing the Feed the Families program while preparing to also resume the school meals program.
- Establishing relationships with the new San Miguel government administration that takes office in October; we hope to continue to benefit from their support.
- Resume nutrition and cooking classes for moms.
- Resume cooking classes for the paid cooks and volunteers who prepare the school meals.
We hope that we can continue to count on your support to help us meet these challenges!