Daniel smiling at some supplies.

COVID-19: Economic relief

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Thanks to our donor partners, our committed team, and our local volunteer fire department, Pa’nibal has the privilege to support our community during the current COVID-19 crisis that has affected so many families and individuals. With your support we’ve begun deliveries of foodstuffs and basic necessities to at-risk homes in and around San Pedro las Huertas.

Can you buy $20 worth of food & supplies for a family that needs it? Or more? Every $20 equates to ~28 lbs in rice, beans, corn flour, oil, pasta, vitamin enriched milk powder and disinfectant. We’d love your help.

Guatemala declared a state of national calamity in March due to the threat of widespread COVID-19 infection. Only twenty-five public hospitals in a country of nearly seventeen million people are capable of treating severe respiratory distress, many of which are concentrated in the country’s few metropolitan districts. A poorly developed healthcare infrastructure combined with endemic poverty and malnutrition creates a terrible risk for Guatemalans — nearly half of whom live on less than $5.50 USD each day in the best of times.

A volunteer fireman helps Pa'nibal deliver food during the COVID-19 crisis.

Volunteer firemen helped Pa’nibal deliver supplies to at-risk homes in difficult to reach communities.

The president of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, has taken extreme and decisive action to curb the spread of COVID-19 including the closure of all public transit, religious services, non-essential businesses, public markets, non-essential government offices, and all public spaces. A national curfew has been enacted, all gatherings of any kind have been banned, and a national stay-at-home directive has been emplaced. The economic fallout has been devastating.

Meaylin, administrator at Pa'nibal, prepares supplies for delivery.

Meaylin, administrator at Pa’nibal, prepares supplies for delivery.

Unemployment and labor laws work to protect much of the upper and middle-class, but huge sectors of the population who are not legally employed have little or no protection. Laborers, drivers, vendors, servers, cooks, barbers — all sorts of people who work bajo agua (under the table / no reported income) have no recourse, and often little or no savings to survive on. Government foodstuff delivery programs implemented during the COVID-19 crisis provide relief for many, but coverage is not complete and many families and individuals go without.

The Pa'nibal team and residents prepared the first round of 47 deliveries.

The Pa’nibal team and residents prepared the first round of 47 deliveries.

The Pa’nibal team spent several days engaging our extensive contacts in local NGOs, government offices, neighborhood associations, schools and churches to develop a list of at-risk homes in our area who are most impacted by this economic depression — people with little or no food and money, and no recourse. Several prior Pa’nibal residents fall into this category. We took advantage of our existing wholesale contacts, our reduced expenditures on education during this crisis, and an ample supply of free labor (the women & kids of Pa’nibal) to buy, package, and deliver basic foodstuffs to homes in need.

Deliveries were made to 47 households impacted by the COVID-19 economic fallout.

Our first round of deliveries were made to 47 households impacted by the COVID-19 economic fallout.

This week we completed our first 47 deliveries. Each package costs us around $20 and contains about 28 lbs of rice, beans, pasta, corn flour, oil, vitamin enriched milk powder, and disinfectant. There are 110 homes on our list, and we’d love to deliver at least two packages to each over the next 4-6 weeks which would cost us about $4400. Can you help?

Can you buy $20 worth of food & supplies for a family that needs it? Or more? Every $20 equates to ~28 lbs in rice, beans, corn flour, oil, pasta, vitamin enriched milk powder and disinfectant. We’d love your help.

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