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Food for thought: The comfort and security of a full stomach

At Common Hope, we know that unfortunate events can happen at the drop of a dime and such events can cause added stress and strain to the families we serve. We also understand that in order to move ahead and cope with a difficult situation, one’s basic needs must be met. Although we would like to be prepared for everything that comes our way, we know that there will always be a lingering element of ambiguity—especially when “planning” for emergencies.

In 2014, Common Hope estimated that 876 emergency food baskets would be needed for the year. By the end of 2014, 1,469 baskets had been given to families in need, 1,190 of which were given due to illness. Despite imprecise forecasts, we thankfully were able to provide a food basket to all who needed one. According to the trends we are seeing, the need for emergency food baskets is growing each year, and to address the issue we have made some small yet significant changes as a means to better support our families.

Re-evaluating the contents of the emergency food bag

In 2014, site directors met to discuss the dietary needs of families in their communities and a nutritionist revised the contents of the food basket. Afterwards, they decided to make some practical changes that would further benefit families. For example, whole kernel corn was substituted for corn flour (maseca) since it requires less time and resources to prepare. Small changes like this one has made a big difference. Before, the emergency food basket had enough food to last a family of six people for six days, now there is enough to last a family of six for 8 days or more.

Now, the emergency food basket contains:

3 bags of maseca (corn flour)

7 pounds of black beans

2 pounds of rice

1 pound of mosh (a food similar to oatmeal)

1 bag of salt

5 packs of noodles

1 pack of soap

3 packs of incaparina (an economical, highly-nutritive powder that is usually mixed in milk)

1 package of sugar

1 bottle of oil

Lending a hand during the hardest of times

Common Hope also offers families a special food basket for funerals. In Guatemala, funerals take place immediately after the person has passed away and it includes a vigil during which people are constantly visiting the family. Also, it is typical to give some food and a cup of coffee so that people stay awake during the vigil. This year, the contents of this food basket has doubled and now includes: 8 packs of 25 disposable coffee cups, 15 pounds of beans, 6 pounds of coffee and 3 packets of sugar. Rosalina Ramos, the Sponsorship Director in Antigua, says: “As a Guatemalan, I can tell you that this is a huge help that one can receive during such a difficult time.”

Thanks for your support

Thank you to all who have donated to our emergency food basket fund; because of your support, we are better able to help our families during difficult times. We hope that 2015 is a good year for everybody and we are confident that together we can confront any obstacles that come our way.

If you would like give a gift of $30.00 to support our emergency food basket fund, please visit:, or contact our U.S. office at (651) 917-0917 /

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