Food Kits: Meeting the Need
Written by Brianna Canty
COVID-19 was racing across the world and cases were rising, upending society as we knew it. Girls Soccer Worldwide had to reevaluate, change gears. If we were locked down, unable to travel to Paraguay, what were we going to do?
So, we reverted back to our core mission, our guiding principles: we may not have been able to play soccer together, but we could still uplift girls in underserved communities. Amidst a unique time of restrictions and closures, we went to our Paraguay Ambassadors and asked them what they needed.
It was Maria Lujan, our program manager in Paraguay, who responded.
“I want to feed my community.”
Food Kits: Feeding a Hunger
The pandemic made the “pre-existing malnutrition crisis worse. With services disrupted and livelihoods devastated, families [were] finding it harder to put healthy food on the table, leaving many children hungry.” With 45% of children at risk for malnutrition, this was a reality our Paraguay Ambassadors knew all too well. This was where they wanted to focus their efforts while the world was at a standstill.
Here, the food kits mission was born.
Our Ambassadors in Paraguay spearheaded the food kits mission and believe in its ability to change lives. Maggie, one of our Paraguay Ambassadors, was interviewed about this earlier this year. During the conversation, she discussed how “delivering these food kits [is] something that has left a lasting impact on her life.” She’s been able to connect with members of her community by meeting a fundamental, basic human right: food security.
The Impact on Education
According to a report from Plan International, “girls are more likely than boys to be taken out of school when families come under strain” resulting in “hunger severely [impacting] their learning.”
Families have to choose where to spend their money, between paying for food or healthcare, or prioritizing food over paying for school fees. As the 2022 report states: “The world is in the grip of a catastrophic hunger crisis. [This] crisis is having [an alarming impact] on girls’ wellbeing and education globally.”
GSWW’s mission is to empower girls to rise out of poverty through sports, education, and leadership opportunities. But when basic needs in life go unmet—if young women do not have food to eat, clean water to drink, clothes to wear, bathrooms to use, or the financial stability to stay in school—then this mission cannot be achieved.
“We [decided to] put the time and effort into feeding the community,” Pamela explains. “If you don’t have food in your belly, how do you focus on education? On physical performance?” This is us living our values of meeting girls where they are at and our renewed focus on the whole girl.
When we help provide access to fundamental necessities, we keep girls in school and commit to creating community-level change.
By the Numbers
Through our Paraguay Ambassadors, GSWW fed 1,500 people last October by delivering 400 food kits. Primarily, these kits fed the children who attend two of our three K-8 partnered schools, where our Ambassadors conduct their Grassroots Workshops and teach P.E. classes.
In total, our Ambassadors have delivered over 800 food kits in the last 3 years.
They are truly the heart of our organization—showing up in their communities, meeting their needs, and giving back.
Through donations, our Paraguay Ambassadors buy the food, pack the kits, organize the deliveries, and hand them out to each family. They identify the need and then they fill it, creating change from within their communities—one food kit at a time.
At the end of this week, on May 19th, Pamela is traveling to Paraguay to help deliver our next round of food kits. This has become an integral part of our work in Paraguay, a permanent endeavor to ensure ongoing support is provided to those in need.
It doesn’t take much to help this cause. All it takes $35 to feed a family of four for two weeks.
When we support our Paraguay Ambassadors in their food kit mission, Girls Soccer Worldwide is not just changing the life of one girl, one family.
We are changing thousands.
Will you help us?
Girls Soccer Worldwide!
Previous Blog: “Humanizing the Leadership Experience”
Plan International: Click here to read more about global efforts to combat child hunger and advance equality for girls.
Borgen Project: Click here for information about Poverty in Paraguay, and here for information about hunger in Paraguay.
To learn more about Girls Soccer Worldwide and what we do, click here.