The Cuenca Soup Kitchen continues to keep its focus firmly on
distributing tons of food to the needy and vulnerable in Cuenca,
Ecuador. Food is the foundation but we know that our
beneficiaries often need more so we deliver. Health, hygiene, and
the health of the planet are priorities and so we have teamed with
GelWear, an Ecuadorian company to provide all of the babies in
our program with reusable and biodegradable diapers. $100
provides a diaper kit that will last for 2.5 to 3 years. For $30 CSK
provides reusable feminine hygiene kits that will last for 5 years.
The hygiene program joins HeartStrings which provides warm
hats, scarves, and blankets for the young, the sick, and the
vulnerable. Our Birthday Abuelita program continues to provide
every child with a “birthday in a bag” so that families can celebrate
those special moments together. Children’s Day, Christmas, and
providing school supplies are important ongoing initiatives. Giving
a hand up rather than a hand out with these programs helps CSK
beneficiaries better their lives and their futures.
The Cuenca Soup Kitchen’s focus is to give families a hand up through targeted food distribution. This initiative has impacted 1,000s of vulnerable people in and around Cuenca, Ecuador. This year CSK continued this goal…and much more! CSK’s Hygiene Product and Education initiative joined the Aubuelita’s Birthday program (providing birthdays for each child in the program) and the Heartstings program (knitting for babies, seniors, and the vulnerable). CSK continued to work with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the latest project (to reduce CSK’s eco-footprint) is up for the coveted President’s award. Disaster relief included both short term as well as long term sustainable solutions for Marianza, a small town devastated by landslides. CSK teamed with the US Consul General to provide school supplies to all of the school-age children in the program, helping to ensure a better future for them. Reading glasses were distributed to adults in need. CSK volunteers and beneficiaries celebrated Mother’s Day, Children’s Day and are preparing to celebrate Christmas. To implement these goals CSK partnered with other organizations, businesses, artists, and individuals. All of this was accomplished while keeping the focus firmly on the tons of food CSK distributes each month.
Cuenca, like the rest of Ecuador, has suffered a series of economic setbacks. In addition to the Pandemic, Ecuador has weathered a national strike which had a far reaching economic impact. At the same time that food prices shot up, wages were lost. The numbers on our waiting list began to increase as well. In response CSK redoubled its fundraising efforts and increased the number we serve to approximately 1,000 people. Although we, like many organizations, feel the impact of donor fatigue, our boots on the ground volunteers have made all the difference. Their efforts have allowed this growth to happen and provided much needed food assistance to many more families while continuing to support hygiene programs, children’s initiatives, and disaster relief. Our current waiting list is equal in size to the number of people currently being served. With the threat of another national strike on the horizon, we are preparing for even more applicants. The need is real but the Cuenca Soup Kitchen will continue to provide relief to those who need it most.
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
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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