2020 has undoubtedly been an alarming year for us all, but never has life been more challenging for the world’s impoverished. In many of the countries where AMG serves, the economic effects of COVID-19 shutdowns have devastated families, thrusting them back into even deeper poverty and leaving them questioning how they will make it through the day.
I recently spoke to an artisan that works in Antigua, Guatemala. He shared his desperation in tears, following now seven months with no tourists, no sales, and absolutely no income coming in. For many years, AMG missions’ teams would visit his small shop, purchasing the beautiful items that he and his wife would sell to tourists. A Christian family, they have been on their knees praying for relief and for help in feeding their children. AMG responded last month by sending food supplies to help him and many other families that rely on the tourist trade. Guatemala has begun to reopen, but with no tourists, these businesses are closing very quickly.
I cannot even imagine what life is like right now for families like the Chons, who live in La Verbena, a challenging urban neighborhood in Guatemala City. Carlos (2nd grade) and Moises (4th grade) live with their single mother and sister and are currently surviving off AMG food supplies, which they say they are “carefully administering to have at least one good meal per day.” Their mother used to sell stickers and small toys in the area, but due to COVID-19, she lost her job with a local vendor as shutdowns dried up all sales. She shared that she cannot think of anything right now beyond feeding her children and is at risk of losing her humble home because she hasn’t been able to pay her rent in several months.
I recently read that David Beasley, the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program, said that the world “could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions.” According to Director Beasley, economic crisis, conflict, and a decline in aid create a “perfect storm,” stressing that there is “a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.” The United Nations has stated that as many as a half a billion people could be pushed into poverty just as the world experiences what could be the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression. The Guatemalan government has stated that hunger has doubled in the country since April. David Malpass, President of the World Bank, has warned that COVID-19 may have already pushed an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty, plus an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation.
AMG is focusing on Guatemala, Uganda, Haiti, Kenya, Pakistan, and Bangladesh for immediate food relief and needs your help. Just $43 can supply a family of 4 with enough food to survive for one week in any of these countries, and AMG buys everything locally to support local workers and avoid costly shipping expenses. You can give to our COVID-19 Relief Fund at amghelp.org.