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A Hunger for Hope

Field Report by Lauryn Vickers

PERU – It was the first day of a new school year for Judith’s children. On that crisp morning in March, there were no warnings that her family would soon be affected by heartaches and struggles due to food insecurity in Peru.

As on other first days of the school year, she happily prepared her children for enrollment. She had even requested a day off from her job for the occasion. At the time, Judith worked as an assistant cook in a nearby restaurant. Since her husband’s employment as a trucker takes him away from home for weeks at a time, Judith is often left with the sole responsibility of caring for their kids.

food insecurity peru

Economic Strain from COVID-19

That morning, Judith took her four children to school, anticipating a busy day at the restaurant. Then in the evening, she received a life-changing phone call. Judith’s boss informed her the restaurant would be closing indefinitely. COVID-19 had officially hit the highlands of Peru where Judith’s family lives. Suddenly, their world turned upside down.

“It was like a bucket of cold water in my face,” Judith said. “In my mind, I had a job waiting for me the next day, but that did not happen.”

Before Judith knew it, everything changed. Not only was she out of work, her children were no longer permitted at school buildings. Lessons for their new Peruvian school year were being provided only via radio or internet. Her oldest daughter walked a long distance to a relative’s house for internet access, while her eldest son tried to listen to class through a walkie-talkie. But she noticed her children falling behind. 

To make matters worse, Judith’s lack of income meant a diminishing food supply. Her husband was away when the quarantine started, and he couldn’t return home. Without any outside support, the family quickly ran out of food, soon eating mostly boiled potatoes to fill their stomachs. Despite her best efforts, the children’s motivation to do their schoolwork steadily decreased. 

peru starvation

Severe Food Insecurity and Hunger

With no end to the pandemic in sight, and her resources disappearing, Judith became overwhelmed with hopelessness as fear of severe food insecurity set in.

But thanks to you and other generous partners, hope was not lost! Operation Blessing learned of Judith’s story and immediately responded to meet her most critical hunger needs. In partnership with a local church, Operation Blessing Peru distributed manna packs to many struggling families in Judith’s community. The team later went directly to Judith’s house with bags of groceries to sustain her family through this difficult time. 

Your kindness means Judith’s children didn’t go hungry. As they grew and continued learning, your compassion was not forgotten.

“I was overjoyed because you arrived just in time when I was most desperate,” Judith said. “Thank you, Operation Blessing, with all my heart. My family thanks you!”

hunger relief in peru

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