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Better nutrition in Nicaragua

In Nicaragua -- one of the least developed nations in Latin America -- more than 42 percent of residents live in overwhelming poverty: many subsisting on less than $2 per day. Amanda Cruz is one of them.

Amanda lives in the municipality of Estelí, where she struggles to meet the daily needs of her small family -- including how to feed them. A chronic lack of opportunity, both educational and vocational, means that far too many residents of the country’s third-largest city will never know the freedom and security of a livable wage. Instead, most will remain bound by generational poverty and a lack of hope.

At “El Regadío,” a Salesian-run community school on the outskirts of Estelí, missionaries aim to change this reality, one child at a time. In order to ensure their students’ full attention and success, they provide a daily free meal to the girls and boys who attend.

“Most of the children at El Regadío, and our other programs in Nicaragua, suffer from malnutrition,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “This is why we offer school-based feeding programs in as many impoverished communities as possible. We know that children cannot learn on an empty stomach. Nutritious meals fuel their bodies so teachers can challenge their minds.”

These school meal programs are possible thanks to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s hungry in body and spirit.” Feed My Starving Children donates the meals, and generous donors of our annual Loaves & Fishes appeal help pay the shipping costs.

Your compassion means that children like Amanda’s young son, who attends El Regadío, no longer have to wonder where their next meal will come from. Instead, they can eagerly participate in the classroom, and begin building the foundations they need for much brighter futures.

In addition to El Regadío, several other Salesian-run schools, and impoverished members of the surrounding communities, also benefit from this partnership. Most recently, officials at The Universidad Catόlica Agropecuaria del Trόpico Seco (The Catholic University of Dry Tropic Farming and Livestock) received a 40-foot shipping container carrying 42,322 pounds of rice-meals, which they distributed through the Salesian network to hundreds of families and elderly residents in need -- improving their strength, health and well-being.

“We are so grateful for this assistance!” says Amanda.

Changing Lives in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, a recent donation of critical supplies is improving the health and well-being of hundreds of children and families living in Santo Domingo, Jarabacoa, Hainamosa, La Vega and Santiago.

Provided by Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now), and distributed to eight Salesian-run community health clinics, this donation included assorted medicines such as over-the-counter pain relievers, antibiotics and blood pressure drugs -- as well as personal hygiene products, such as soap, toothbrushes and even crutches. It also included lab instruments, orthodontic and dental equipment, and supplies for pregnant and nursing mothers.

“Our work in the Dominican Republic extends far beyond education,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Our goal is to serve the whole person: making sure their basic needs, including health care, are met so that they have the energy, resources and resolve to successfully pull themselves out of poverty.”

Many of the clinics’ patients are young mothers and their children who otherwise could not afford even the most basic health care. And the direct human impact of such donations is clear. Cheroly, for example, can rest easy in the knowledge that her four-month-old daughter is protected from common childhood illnesses, thanks to the free vaccines and pediatric consultations she receives at the San Pedro Apostol Dispensary. In a country where more than 30 out of 1,000 children die before reaching the age of five, this care is crucial.

Older patients benefit, too. 73-year-old Magaly could not afford the blood pressure medication she so desperately needed, until she became a patient at the clinic.

“Coronary artery disease is the number one cause of death in the Dominican Republic,” says Fr. Mark, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. “This is why the free medical care we provide is so important. As we simultaneously work to prevent chronic illnesses through our poverty eradication and health education programs, we can treat those who desperately need it. Magaly has a new lease on life, thanks to the support of our many generous friends.”

News & Updates

Better nutrition in Nicaragua

In Nicaragua -- one of the least developed nations in Latin America -- more than 42 percent of residents live in overwhelming poverty: many subsisting on less than $2 per day. Amanda Cruz is one of them.

Read More »

Changing Lives in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, a recent donation of critical supplies is improving the health and well-being of hundreds of children and families living in Santo Domingo, Jarabacoa, Hainamosa, La Vega and Santiago.

Read More »

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On Facebook:

Just as Jesus transformed a few loaves and fishes into a bountiful meal for thousands of people, you can perform a similar miracle through our Loaves and Fishes Appeal. For every $1 you donate, we can ship $14 worth of lifesaving goods to impoverished children and families around the world. This is possible because our partner organizations have donated the goods to us—we just need your help transporting them. Comment

On Twitter:

Just as Jesus transformed a few loaves and fishes into a meal for thousands, you can perform a similar #miracle. During our annual Loaves and Fishes appeal, for every $1 you donate, we can ship $14 worth of lifesaving goods. Reply