Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People

by Fundacion Hearts of Gold
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People
Help Feed Hundreds of Hungry People

The  Cuenca  Soup  Kitchen is growing and expanding its impact on families in need in Cuenca, Ecuador. Providing food  assistance in the form of food kits to over 850 people is at the core of what we do.

In addition, we continue to grow our commitment to being as eco-friendly as possible. Our newest initiative combines the distribution of reusable and environmentally friendly feminine hygiene  kits with education. This program is geared towards mothers and daughters, ensuring that they both have the same access to  information. The workshops were conducted by Susan Beasley, a pediatrician who volunteers with the Cuenca Soup Kitchen.

These workshops have provided an opportunity to correct misinformation as well as identify and provide support for girls and  women experiencing abuse.

Families come to us when they are struggling to provide for themselves and their families. By providing food assistance we can help to get them back on their feet. Just as importantly, by providing cakes and gifts for the children’s birthdays, we are able to help them maintain a sense of normalcy as they work towards independence. Our “abuelitas” make sure that no child is  forgotten.

By partnering with Hearts of Gold and their social worker, we are able to monitor and provide educational opportunities to the  families we serve. As they become stable they are transitioned out of the program, thereby making room for the next family that needs our services in order to achieve stability.

Finally, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has continued to provide assistance in natural disasters most recently in the canton of 

Sayausi after a series of landslides destroyed homes, and farms.

The Cuenca Soup Kitchen is poised to continue to help those in need work towards stability and self-sufficiency

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The number that we serve on a regular basis has grown to over 750 people. By partnering with Hearts of Gold, we are able to screen applicants and determine their needs. As families move towards self sufficiency they transition out of the program, thereby making room for subsequent families that are in need.

Providing food kits to families is still at the core of what we do we also assist with clothing and household items, diapers and femine hygiene products, and also a birthday program so that children get to celebrate their special day.

We recognize the importance of being eco-friendly and we seek solutions that fit our budget. One way that we have been able to achieve both goals is by purchasing reusable biodegradable diapers from GelWear, an Ecuadorian.

Most recently, with a generous donation from some of our supporters, we have purchased reusable kit bags. This has allowed us to reduce the number of single use plastics that we use.

The Cuenca Soup Kitchen has and will continue to provide assistance in natural disasters. In May of 2021, flash-flooding devastated rural communities on the outskirts of Cuenca resulting in the loss of many homes and livelihoods. We mobilized to provide thousands of pounds of food. This aid continued for weeks as those impacted re-established themselves.

You, our donors and our volunteers, are the life-line of the Cuenca Soup Kitchen. Without your help, hundreds of people would go hungry.

We and they, truly appreciate your support.

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The Cuenca Soup Kitchen continues to grow and to expand its impact. Although providing food assistance in the form of food kits to families is still at the core of what we do, our newest initiative recognizes the importance of being eco-friendly by providing the babies and toddlers in our program with GelWear diapers, a product designed and produced in Ecuador. These diapers are a long-term, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic solution to disposable diapers.

We also provide donated clothing and housewares. The number that we serve on a regular basis has grown to over 700. By partnering with Hearts of Gold and their social worker, we are able to monitor these families and transition them out of the program as they become stable, thereby making room for the next family that needs our services in order to achieve stability.

Finally, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has continued to provide assistance in natural disasters. When flash flooding washed away homes and livelihoods in and around Cuenca, Ecuador in May of 2021, we mobilized to provide thousands of pounds of food. This aid continued for weeks as those impacted re-established themselves.

The Cuenca Soup Kitchen is poised to continue to help those in need work towards stability and self-sufficiency

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You, our donors and our volunteers, are the life-line of the Cuenca Soup Kitchen. Without your help, many refugees and Ecuadorians would go hungry.

Their stories:

“I’m starving but I don’t have any money for the bus so how do I feed the children?” Change for Change now makes it possible for this family to get to the food they need. 

“I have angels everywhere,” says Carmen. After fleeing political violence in Venezuela, your donations helped her and her husband feed their child, clothe their family, and access medical care, while they worked to establish their little family in Cuenca. Thanks to you, they have been successful. 

“This food means I can finish high school,” says Karin. She still works selling trash bags on the street but the food means she has time to study so that she can attend university in the future and provide a future for her baby daughter.

On March 12, 2020 the Cuenca Soup Kitchen, like much of the world, was closed down due to COVID. This left the population we serve even more vulnerable. Those who previously had few resources now found themselves with none.

Those who begged in the streets, those who walked here from Venezuela in search of a better life, and the Ecuadorian working poor were all in danger of starvation.

No one was spared in this crisis and in a developing country, the numbers are staggering. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we served hot meals every weekday and provided access to clothing and other basic items for migrant families and Venezuelan refugees. However, the social distancing requirements of the pandemic has deepened this challenge.

In order to serve as many as possible, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has partnered with other organizations and uses existing infrastructures to expand our ability to provide food kits for families in and around Cuenca, Ecuador. The families include Ecuadorians and Venezuelans. All are at risk and many have multiple vulnerabilities including disabilities and health concerns. Some are children without familial support.


We partner with Foundations, organizations, and businesses: Hearts of Gold, Nur, Cetap-Lucy, El Arenal, Osso, Tomebamba Rotary, Kolo

Your donations and our partnerships have allowed us to almost quadruple the number of people we serve 

Your response to the massive Chunchi landslide helped an entire village get back on its fee

You provided the resources to deliver thousands of seedlings to those with the ability to grow their own food

You supported the Pig Project which provided thousands of pounds of high quality protein to hungry families 

Your gifts and donations have made it possible for us to reestablish the clothing program and household goods program, the diaper program, and to establish Change for Change - these funds go towards transportation for outlying families so that they can access the food they so desperately need

The future holds continued challenges:

Ecuador’s vaccination program is not as robust as in many countries, making the continued economic and social impacts a reality for the foreseeable future

Fundraising is directly impacted by the economic and social realities of the COVID crisis - as the need grows, the resources shrink

COVID-19 has not changed our mission, only our method. The Cuenca Soup Kitchen is dedicated to keeping families alive and together. Our goal is to provide a bridge that will connect as many families as possible to a more stable future and with your continued help, we can do that.

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This year Bob Higgins, the founder of the Cuenca Soup Kitchen, moved to Paute and turned over the operation to three long-term volunteers: Des Dizney, Bill O’Brien, and Smith. Our plan was to continue the soup kitchen’s mission in 2020.  


On March 12th that all changed. Ecuador went into a strict lockdown due to COVID 19. This meant that we could no longer serve meals to those in need.


Since the people could not come to us to be fed, we had to get the food to the people. Our partnership with Hearts of Gold has created and maintained a system that:


  • expanded to serve Ecuadorians and well as immigrants 
  • distributes food to our more distant families and provides a pick up point for those who are able to get to us
  • vets the needs of each family and foundation, transitioning them out when they become stable
  • negotiates discounted deals with our vendors thereby extending our purchasing power
  • provides clothing and other donated items 
  • enters into new projects as opportunities arise such as the “Pig Project” that provided tons of protein to those we regularly assist as well as many others


The number of families to whom we provide food has grown to 120 (approximately 600 people). This is three times as many people as we were able to help with the old model and we do so for slightly less cost. This is a huge impact.


March 12th also changed our financial picture. The uncertainty in the world impacted our donors as well. For some it meant they needed to reduce or stop their donations. 


It is clear that this need will continue for the foreseeable future and that the Cuenca Soup Kitchen, in partnership with Hearts of Gold and our wonderful volunteers, will continue to serve as long as the need is there and funding allows. We depend on continued donations to enable us to do just that. 

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Organization Information

Fundacion Hearts of Gold

Location: Cuenca - Ecuador
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Hearts_Of_Gold
Project Leader:
Maria Jose Orellana
Cuenca, Ecuador
$149,207 raised of $200,000 goal
2,049 donations
$50,793 to go
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