When the Coronavirus hit Guatemala, community leaders in Panyebar reached out to Mayan Partners to explore how we might help. Being a remote community, their biggest need was not medical supplies or medical care -- they have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 yet -- but it was for food and basic supplies as the supply lines in and out of their community had been cut off. The Mayan Partners Board met to discuss what could be done, and approved a financial gift for the entire village, not just the staff and students of Colegio Bethel.
The provisions were purchased through a local wholesaler, who was able to acquire them even with the difficult restrictions on large purchases.
The families chosen by the community leaders to receive the provisions social distanced as they were processed at the school and waited in line for the food.
Each family chosen received their provision allotments. Overall, 239 families in Panyebar received provisions, meaning somewhere in the area of 1200-1500 people were helped by the $3,300 donation.
The Mayan Partner team received reports that the provisions had a huge positive impact on the families that received them. It was powerful to see how the community banded together to administer the funds from MP.
The other project Mayan Partners supported even before working with the Panyebar community was Saludos Ninos, the village pre-school and childcare group. The Saludos Ninos teachers desired to provide food for the families of the children who could not attend the preschool due to COVID-19 restrictions (and receive their 2 meals and 3 snacks which are part of the normal preparations). The techers reached out, and we worked with them, suggesting a model similar to what schools in California have been using: the food is prepared by Saludos Ninos and families come and pick up the food to take home. There is no "gathering". In this case, MP was able to provide the extra financial aide above their normal monthly food budget to support their effort.