Latin America & The Caribbean
Latin America & The Caribbean
Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting partners in Latin America & the Caribbean in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting partners in Latin America & the Caribbean as they provide food, hygiene and cleaning kits and other emergency assistance to vulnerable communities that have been impacted.
Early in the pandemic, Servicio Anglicano de Diacono e Desenvolvimento (SADD), the development arm of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, provided food, hygiene and cleaning supplies to women, adolescents and children, particularly those in vulnerable communities such as those without homes, domestic violence survivors and other low-income communities. Additionally, SADD distributed PPE such as face masks and lab coats to healthcare workers.
SADD then responded to provide support to indigenous communities in the Ribeira Valley that have been particularly vulnerable due to isolation from medical services. Additionally, tourism and trade were the main sources of income for the communities, both of which were impacted. Leveraging its ASA (Water, Soap, Love) volunteers, SADD distributed PPE, medicine and cleaning supplies. The organization also supported the cultivation of sustainable vegetable gardens and livestock such as chickens.
SADD’s third COVID-19 relief project came at a time when COVID cases and deaths are still high. The secondary effects of the pandemic on poverty and food insecurity are also dire, with many people still unable to work amid lockdowns and a high risk of infection. In response, the Church organized a working group to meet the demands of the pandemic through food distribution and pastoral and psychological support. This project focused on providing food baskets to 7,000 people and distributing meals to 800 people, particularly in vulnerable communities where people are experiencing homelessness.
Episcopal Relief & Development supported multiple responses to COVID-19 in Colombia through its partnerships with the Episcopal Anglican Church, Interfaith Rainforest Initiative and Fundación Trinity.
The Episcopal Anglican Church provided essential assistance to marginalized groups in response to COVID-19. The government restrictions and shutdowns have particularly impacted the elderly and informal gig workers who make up 40-60% of the population. The Church has transformed St. Paul’s Cathedral and Church of the Divine Savior, both in Bogotá, into distribution centers where food, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies can be distributed to groups who have been impacted by the national shutdowns and the resulting loss of income.
Additionally, Interfaith Rainforest Initiative (IRI), provided emergency assistance to indigenous communities. Many of these communities have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 infections and lack access to medical care. IRI is distributing non-perishable food items and hygiene kits of soap, cleaning alcohol, toothpaste and antibacterial hand gel to over 500 men and women.
Fundación Trinity supported 300 households with food and sanitation kits, as well as educational kits to raise awareness of these prevention strategies, in Guambia, Cartagena, Ibague, Cali, Bogota and Medellin. The targeted families include households headed by women and those who have lost work due to the shutdowns and mandatory quarantines.
Cuba continues to live through the impacts of COVID-19 while also experiencing the impact of currency consolidation and inflation, natural disasters and civil unrest. In consultation with the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and Episcopal Relief & Development, the Episcopal Church of Cuba is addressing emergency needs by providing food, cleaning supplies, soap, hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment such as face masks to 250 families in 50 communities.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic shutdowns, the Dominican Republic has also experienced devastating hurricanes and flooding. In response, the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic distributed food, face masks, and pastoral and emotional support to 2,800 people who have been impacted. This assistance particularly targets vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people in situations of conflict or violence.
The Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador Litoral responded to the pandemic by distributing food and medical supplies to the elderly, single women and children in highly impacted areas of coastal Ecuador. Additionally, the diocese supported 200 families who have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the government-imposed shut-downs. Diocesan staff is providing food and other emergency supplies to these highly vulnerable groups.
Episcopal Relief & Development supported the Episcopal Diocese of El Salvador to provide support to people who were impacted by both emergencies such as Tropical Storms Amanda and Cristobal and COVID-19. The Diocese of El Salvador supported 1,000 families with baskets of food such as beans, rice, sugar, oil and milk. These families included people who lost their crops, animals or houses during Tropical Storms Amanda and Cristobal, individuals with chronic diseases who are being cared for by the diocese’ health outreach program, children under five years old, pregnant women, single parents and others affected by COVID-19 and the events. The diocese also provided personal protective items like face masks and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Community promoters and volunteers were given gloves and infrared thermometers to help protect them and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Episcopal Relief and Development, in partnership with the Episcopal Church in Guatemala, worked to identify and support approximately 654 families who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The Church purchased, packaged and distributed food, such as beans, sugar, pasta, rice and flour. Additional sanitation materials were also distributed, including cleaning alcohol and antibacterial hand gel.
The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, is responding to critical needs related to COVID-19 and the August 2021 earthquake. The diocese provided food kits of rice, beans, pasta and cooking oil to 100 families in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake here.
The Episcopal Diocese of Honduras, with the support of Episcopal Relief & Development, provided emergency assistance to families who are affected by COVID-19 and the economic recession brought on by the pandemic. Many Hondurans rely on money sent from family members in the United States and Spain who have similarly lost their sources of income due to stay-at-home orders. The diocese distributed food such as corn, beans and rice to families who have been particularly impacted by the coronavirus.
The pandemic expanded in Honduras in the second half of 2020, increasing both the risk of exposure to the coronavirus and the indirect consequences of government shutdowns which have created more challenges for marginalized populations. The diocese, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, leveraged existing Savings with Education groups to respond with additional food and hygiene supplies. Leaders also taught community members to make cloth face masks to reduce the spread of the virus.
Students have also been directly impacted by the pandemic. Onsite education has been restricted and schools have been required to offer remote learning, which is complicated in areas without consistent access to the internet and the other technology needed for online learning. With Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, El Hogar provided data plans and tablets to support hybrid learning for 50 students. El Hogar also distributed food to families that have been particularly affected by the pandemic and multiple hurricanes.
The Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD) leveraged its existing relationships in 40 remote and underserved communities to respond to COVID-19 in 2020. CEPAD produced weekly radio programs and promotional clips to educate communities about prevention and response efforts. The council also provided pastoral and psychological care to vulnerable populations through phone calls and physically distanced home visits. CEPAD distributed health and hygiene kits, water filters and seed packets to physically support these communities. To keep staff and community members safe, CEPAD has educated staff during virtual workshops about the WHO and Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 safety guidelines and has instituted appropriate physical distancing protocols.
Nicaragua continues to experience the effects of the ongoing pandemic and the flooding and physical property and crop damage caused by storms such as Hurricane Eta in 2020. CEPAD provided food assistance to 120 families in 2021, however, the compounding effects of the loss of livelihoods, lack of access to healthcare and the ongoing threat of infection and hurricanes have been challenging. Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting CEPAD as it equips leaders to promote psychosocial care for families in their communities. The Council is providing financial assistance for the purchase of a plot of land where 10 families can rebuild their homes. CEPAD is also partnering with 120 families on psychosocial counseling which will support the wider community with resilience-building activities.
The Episcopal Church of Panama supplied food baskets and other emergency assistance to families who have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in northern and central Panama. Staff and volunteers implemented appropriate social distancing protocols to reduce the potential spread of the virus while distributing the food baskets, which include dry food, milk, soap and detergent.
Building on its existing food banks in Lima, the Anglican Church of Peru, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, expanded its work with isolated indigenous communities in the southern Andean region of Arequipa and Juliaca by providing daily meals for 90 families. The Church mobilized church members who prepared and served the food, while following COVID-19 prevention protocols such as masks and physical distancing.
As communities faced new variants of the virus and the effects of the extended pandemic in 2021, the Church continued its programs in Arequipa and Juliaca, and expanded to additional communities through the establishment of “Parish Dining Rooms and Common Pots.” The Church also provided personal hygiene items for the inmates at the Lampa Prison, as well as their young children. Typically, family members and friends are able to provide these essential items during visitation, but that has been restricted due to COVID-19.
Updated March 25, 2022