A Seventh-day Adventist mother and her two children pose for a photo as church members deliver a food basket in Peten, Guatemala, to help the family during the national quarantine order enforced nearly three weeks ago. More than 4,000 needy Adventist families who are limited to provide for their loved ones will also receive a food basket in the coming weeks across the country as part of a three-phase assistance. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

April 2, 2020 | Guatemala City, Guatemala | Inter-American Division News Staff

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guatemala began distributing food baskets to thousands of its church members most affected by the national quarantine regulations that limit them from going to work to provide for their families.

“Because of the government’s decree on quarantine measures and curfews in place, the country seems to be paralized, fear has taken over communities, some products are scarce as people have been confined to their homes to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Pastor Guenther Garcia, president of the church in Guatemala. “The crisis will intensify as another 30 days of isolation is scheduled this month, preventing so many from going out to earn money to feed their loved ones.”

Prepared food bags are piled in a pickup truck ready to be delivered to dozens of families in the northwestern part of Guatemala. The bags contain rice, beans, cornmeal, salt and sugar. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

Each of the eight conferences and missions have identified those who are at the highest risk of being affected by the coronavirus and with low-incomes, and church members 60 or older in the same condition who depend on daily selling in the market, explained Gustavo Menéndez, communication director for the church in Guatemala.

Many families in the north, metropolitan area, and the west regions received food baskets containing rice, beans, cornmeal, oil, salt and sugar, explained Menéndez. The March 25 distribution led church leaders and member volunteers to assemble hundreds of food baskets for needy families.

Juan Segura, an older member of the Chal Adventist Church in Peten, north Guatemala, was among several families who benefited from food baskets last week. “Thank you for this gift from our brethren, because we know that the love of God is manifested this way,” said Segura.

A young church member in North Guatemala delivers a food bag especially prepared for Adventist families in need.  [Photo: Guatemala Union]

“This is only the beginning of the distribution of goods to more than 4,000 families as the projected crisis begins to show its effects more and more in the coming weeks,” said Menéndez. The funding of the food baskets is split between the union headquarters, the conferences and missions and local churches, he explained.

So far, the government has declared that more than 2.5 million persons are at risk during the coronavirus crisis in Guatemala. There have been 36 persons affected by COVID-19, one death and 10 persons fully recovered, according to the national report.

The church plans to assist the most affected in the community through its Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the coming weeks in coordination with government authorities.

Heidy Velásquez de Quiroa, a church member from Zacualpa in Quiche, Northwest Guatemala, holds her bag of food during the Mar. 25 distribution in her community. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its initiatives in Guatemala, visit adventistas.org.gt

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