Emerging Needs During Coronavirus

We are often asked “What are the greatest needs?”. The most basic need continues to be food for families out of work. Reflecting on the past several months, we have experienced three special emerging needs:

Santiago, Candy Chac Estrella’s baby, eating a banana he received as part of despensas FOC provided for their family.
  1. Support the very young (newborns to two-years) and older persons in their families (age 60+; referred to as third generation who tend to have more health issues). Special needs include:
  • Economical and ecological alternatives to disposable diapers, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products 
  • Baby formula, cereal and wipes
  • Special diet foods for those with diabetes or other health conditions like soft fruits and vegetables 
  1. Temporary financial help for prescriptions and/or transportation for treatment by specialists off the island like asthma inhaler meds, prescriptions for tumors, for dental pain and antibiotics until patients can schedule dental appointments; blood pressure pills, etc.
  1. An alternative way to cook so families without a stove can prepare food.  Lack of work has caused families to move to smaller, less expensive rooms without cooking facilities. More women and children are fleeing abusive home environments to relocate to safe spaces and have no way to cook. Families who normally build small cooking fires outside can’t do so during the rainy season. The best long-term solution is to provide families with a modest gas stove top and tank but they lack the funds to purchase a tank, aren’t able to save money for gas fills and it isn’t easy to move.  
One burner hot plates purchased to give families who need a way to cook.

We have purchased a supply of one-burner electric hot plates for those families that use little electricity. Families who do not have their own electricity, usually have an extension cord from a neighbor they can use for a short time. We have given two of these the past two weeks.  Also needed are basic cooking equipment so we gladly accept good condition small used pans, skillets, utensils, plates, glasses, etc.

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