Reflecting on a Year of Challenges
At this time one year ago, we undertook a mission that truly tested our organization’s ability to go above and beyond anything we could have predicted.
Schools were closed by the COVID-19 pandemic, so our hot school meals program operations ceased. Did that mean we shut down and went home? No. People were desperate. So many immediately lost their source of income. Children still needed those important, healthy meals. Their families did too. We had to find another way to aid the communities we typically support. All while following new safety protocols.
The Feed the Hungry team quickly retooled all its activity to distribute food to the families of the children whom we normally serve. Every aspect of operations was affected: food procurement, packaging, delivering, identifying beneficiaries, and more. Without our usual volunteer packers and drivers, staff workload increased. Vacations were cancelled. Everyone was doing their share, and then some.
As we reflect on the past year, we are more grateful than ever for our incredible staff, for our relationships in the communities and with the local government, and especially, our donors. Working together, we have been able to provide critical nutritional support for more than 20,000 hungry residents of all ages.
Here is a brief timeline of what the past year was like at Feed the Hungry San Miguel:
March 11: The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic.
March 17: Schools close in San Miguel de Allende; FTH suspends operations of school meals program.
March 17-24: FTH operations team and board members meet to plan response to the emergency.
March 30: Reconfigured warehouse; procured essential supplies and food. Began packing food bags with basics of disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and dry meal ingredients.
In just one day, operations staff weighed and packed 500 food bags of 14 kilos each, for immediate distribution.
March 31: Feed the Families program launched. 1,796 food bags were distributed in 19 rural communities and 9 neighborhood in San Miguel.
Over the next ten days, 5,500 food bags were distributed.
FTH unloads a 40-foot trailer of additional supplies for the growing need for food countywide.
May: FTH adds more communities and recipients to food bag distribution, including NGOs and individuals championing their neighborhoods. Now distributing food to 37 communities, 14 charities to feed 20,000.
June: Began packaging and distributing smaller food bags with eight basic products for smaller families and the elderly, who mostly live alone in the communities.
August: FTH nutritionists provide instruction and leaflets on nutrition, hygiene, proper use of masks, and hand washing techniques.
July: City government staff who had been supporting FTH in the warehouse had to return to their regular duties. Mothers who are cooks in our school kitchens were enlisted to take over the roles the staff from the city had been performing.
October: Six months into the program. 55,446 food bags (590 tons), equivalent to 6,526,630 meals distributed to the needy.
By year end: Food bags dispensed: 70,432 (687 tons) with ingredients for 7,767,390 meals. FTH nutritionists had delivered 150 workshops for 3,500 women on topics such as diabetes prevention and how to make creative use of the ingredients provided in the donated food bags.
Food bags now include masks and recipe cards. Instructional videos are provided to mothers via WhatsApp.
April 1: More than 90,000 food bags—900 tons—ingredients for 10 million meals have been distributed!
February 1: Began distribution of 1.3 million masks donated by Motus Integrated Technologies of Michigan and Consolidated Aerospace Manufacturing of Brea, CA. Mask were provided to charitable organizations, hospitals, and the local Mayor’s office for distribution across the county to those who need them.