Prior to COVID-19, nearly one million of Guatemala’s children under the age of five suffered from chronic malnutrition or stunting—the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Since October 2017, the Desarrollo en Movimiento (DEM) Food Bank has worked to combat hunger and malnutrition in Guatemala City, particularly amongst children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. The coronavirus outbreak brought new challenges.
“More than half of the organizations we serve have shut down. Mobility restrictions have also affected our regular operations and the fact that there is no public transportation has seriously limited the movement of our volunteers and partners,” shares Juan Pablo Ruano Vargas, Project Manager of DEM.
Despite these challenges, DEM has responded to COVID-19 by doubling its distribution capacity. The food bank has also designed new and creative ways to serve children outside of school, diversified its donation sources, and increased access to fresh fruit and vegetables through an agricultural rescue program – all the while implementing new health and safety protocols to protect staff, volunteers and food bank recipients.
Recently, DEM facilitated the delivery of over 10,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Children’s Villa, a partner organization serving 1,200 children and young people.
In Guatemala City, where COVID-19 has moved malnutrition rates from bad to worse, Desarrollo en Movimiento is working around the clock to nourish vulnerable children and families—in turn offering a greater chance of a more resilient future.
The Global FoodBanking Network is supporting DEM in reaching those vulnerable communities in Guatemala City during COVID-19 through emergency funding, remote technical assistance and shared learning with food banks from more than 40 countries.