Elderly Info

The food crisis in Guatemala is having a devastating effect on the elderly. Without enough to eat, many older people are becoming weak and malnourished, leaving them more vulnerable to illnesses that they cannot afford medical care for. They are unable to provide for even their most basic needs. In many cases, family members are unable to help as they struggle to feed themselves and their own children, leaving the elderly without any form of support and often living in heartbreaking conditions.

Please help us bring them the life-sustaining food and medical care that they so desperately need. General donations are used to ensure that we always have an adequate supply of food, medicine, and funds for meals, necessary medical treatment, and transportation. Monthly sponsorship would help feed one person, once a day for five days a week. Via blog and web album, we'll show you exactly where your aid is going and help you get to know the men and women whose lives you are changing.

If you would like to sponsor an elderly person for $35 a month, please click here and write "monthly sponsorship'' in the Other box. To make a one-time donation for medicine, rent, or other costs, please click here and enter "Elderly Care Program" in the Other box. Any questions can be directed to Amy at amy@mayanfamilies.org

Media on Mayan Families Elderly

Ancianos : Megan Gette + photos by Rob Bain, Nisa East, Rhett Hammerton and Hiroko Tanaka

Mayan Families- Ancianos Stories : Nisa East

Mayan Families Elderly Feeding Care Program : Rhett Hammerton

Facing Hunger: Elderly in Rural Guatemala

Oct 19, 2012

Feed Just One.

Our Elderly Care program feeds about 70 people per day at our locations here in Panajachel and the neighboring village of San Jorge.

For most of them, this is the only meal they receive all day. Some stretch their portion by saving half for the evening. For some, they are the only members of their family who get to eat that day. Others save half their meal for their wife, husband or families at home.

When I ask what they’d eaten that day, or what they might eat later, many answer: a single tortilla with salt. A single egg.  A tomato. Nothing.

Some of our elderly live with their entire families in a single house. Some have nine children who have four or five children of their own. Food prices continue to soar, leaving those who cannot work in worse conditions than ever: the adults in the house must choose who gets to eat, their children or their parents. They must choose who gets to sleep in a bed, and who must sleep on the floor.

This should not have to be a choice. The Feeding Program provides a single meal a day to the elderly who otherwise would forfeit their food for the children, or who by their poor health would not otherwise be able to scavenge the trash for scraps or find other means to feed themselves.

Having spent their lives in desperate conditions during the last century of war, poverty, civil unrest and its constant repercussions, the elderly are still the last to receive relief in Guatemala. And having spent their lives struggling with the hope that someday things might get better, and being proven otherwise, they are grateful for even the smallest gift: one meal per day, five days a week.

By no means is one meal enough, but at the moment it is all Mayan Families can provide, and the program is in danger of being cut. Only those who are currently sponsored will continue receiving their one meal a day. The rest we will have to refuse; we will have to tell them that even this tiny, but necessary quantity of food will be taken from them, like so much has been taken from them throughout their lives.

Currently, only 13 of our elderly receive a monthly donation to help with food, medical costs, rent or other necessities. In an effort to ensure that all 70 of our elderly receive just one meal a day, not including purchased medicine, rent costs or other expenses, we are asking you to sponsor one for just $35 a month. We will continue to help our elderly for medicine and other needs per the extraneous donations we receive. However, $35 a month will provide one meal per day, five days a week, to one person who has no way to care for herself, whose family faces the daily impasse of feeding who they must raise or feeding who fought to raise them. 

If you would like to help to keep one person fed for one month, please visit www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow and write "one month, one person'' in the Other box. 

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