Like the rest of the world, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has faced tremendous challenges in response to Covid-19. On March 12 during our service, we were told that we needed to close, perhaps indefinitely. We were able to distribute all of the perishable food in our pantry to our clients before we left for the day. Although we were no longer able to operate our kitchen because of the coronavirus, we knew that the need was about to become ever greater.
This news came during a year of tremendous growth as the need for services for our refugee guests and financially challenged Ecuadorians has grown. On March 12th we were serving approximately 800 lunches a week with many of our guests being under 5 years of age.
As in every corner of the world, those with less suffer more. Loss of income and the inability to get food to people in the midst of this pandemic has swelled the numbers in need. The inability to gather meant that we needed to create a new model to help hungry people.
Hearts of Gold, an umbrella organization for a number of foundations in Cuenca, quickly identified the 40 most vulnerable families in these foundations. In partnership with them the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has been able to fund food baskets for these families. Each food basket feeds a family of five two meals a day for seven days. Since that time we have been able to raise enough funds to supply 77 families weekly food baskets, a total of 1,078 meals per week.
In addition, we have teamed with Cuenca councilwoman Marisol Peñaloza’s project to bring food baskets, medicine, and clothing to remote communities in the mountains. One such community can only be reached by leaving the highway and traveling another three hours on horseback. Your donations are currently helping 45 such families.
Like the restaurants, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has effectively become a “to-go” operation. By pooling our resources with Hearts of Gold and councilwoman Peñaloza, food is provided to those in need. Given the circumstances we are fully committed to our new normal. We are happy to adjust our methods in order to reflect the requirements of the current situation. After all, it is the mission that is important and with your generosity we have been able to continue to feed hungry people.
It has been an honor to work together with such dedicated and involved people in our community. Thank you all for your kind heart, please continue supporting this project that has grown because of your generosity.
With love and gratitude,