Facts About Our Work in Guatemala

In 1986, Food For The Poor (FFTP) began working in Guatemala. The charity later began providing secure homes with sanitation, clean water and self-sustaining projects as a source of income and nutrition for destitute families in the Central American country. FFTP works with in-country partners Caritas Arquidiocesana and the Order of Malta. There are 40 active projects in Guatemala including four feeding programs, one recovery center, one sustainable community development project, four animal husbandry projects, four housing projects, and two educational projects.

In 2021, FFTP built 557 homes and a total of 3,460 homes since inception.

In 2021, the charity shipped 473 tractor-trailer loads of essential items to Guatemala.

In March 2020, FFTP responded quickly when COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, became a pandemic. The Guatemalan government issued a call for the mandatory use of face masks in public. FFTP established a project to provide necessary tools to training centers for women to earn an income as they produced more than 16,720 face masks.

  • By the end of December 2020, there were more than 138,000 recorded coronavirus cases, according to worldometers.info.
  • More than 1 million people needed emergency food aid, an increase of 570,000 from the beginning of the year, a result of lost work related to the pandemic.
  • Most of the population cannot afford the cost of the basic food basket. As a result, 47% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, 58% for indigenous children, and 66% for those in the lowest income level. The country has one of the highest chronic malnutrition rates in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean.

On Nov. 3, 2020, Hurricane Eta made landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane just south of Puerto Cabezas, on Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean side of the country. This caused severe flooding in Guatemala, killing a reported 44 people, destroying homes, agriculture and livestock. The communities hardest hit were Alta Verapaz, Izabal, and Petén. The situation became chaotic when less than two weeks later, on Nov. 16, Hurricane Iota took basically the same path and made landfall as a strong Category 4, complicating relief efforts. More than 6,400 were evacuated and two people were reportedly killed, more than 1,300 homes, and dozens of roads and bridges were damaged or destroyed by flood water. The two hurricanes are perfect examples as to why Guatemala ranks ninth in the world for level of risk to the effects of climate change.

The hurricanes added to the woes of communities already grappling with the loss of jobs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic, an abysmal economic recovery, and the hurricanes from November 2020, the repercussions have caused many Guatemalans to leave their country and migrate to the United States to look for jobs.

Children suffering from life-threatening malnutrition are receiving nourishing food through an innovative initiative by FFTP, Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), and Caritas Arquidiocesana. Since 2011, more than 21.4 million 3-ounce cans of Spammy™ have been provided to destitute families. Spammy™ is a shelf-stable turkey spread that has been fortified with zinc, iron, B vitamins, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

According to the World Bank, “approximately 1 million people are expected to fall into poverty due to the COVID-19 crisis, raising the country’s poverty rate by as much as 6 percentage points, depending on the depth and duration of the crisis as well as the speed of the economic recovery.”

FFTP donors work through 21 Angels Of Hope children’s homes in Guatemala. Through this program 1,462 vulnerable children have a safe home, food and people who give them loving care.

The population is approximately 17.4 million residents. The primary spoken language is Spanish, and Catholicism is the largest religion. The currency is the quetzal and the GDP per capita is $8,400.

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