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Food Aid for Maya in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

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Emergency nutritional support and hygiene supplies and information for vulnerable indigenous people in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

The Government of Guatemala declared a State of Calamity in Guatemala on March 17. The airport was closed and transportation between departments (states) and often between municipalities was halted, other than for essential goods and services (food, medicine, communication, energy, etc.). The airport was closed, all tourist areas, including beaches and lakefronts, were closed, bringing tourism to a standstill. Public transportation was stopped. Many people have lost their work in either the formal or informal economy. Many of those in the formal economy receive some financial assistance from IGSS, the equivalent of Social Security. Those with relatively low electric bills can receive some assistance from the government (three monthly payments of $133) to assist with basic expenses. Many people in Santiago Atitlan work in the informal economy and have no savings, living day to day. They are at risk of not receiving enough nutritional support during these trying times.

Santiago Atitlan, where Eliza and her partner Dan are now living, currently has over 50 cases of Covid-19, and over 200 people in quarantine. Many people are wearing masks, and understand their responsibility to keep transmission low. But for others, many of whom never had the opportunity to receive any formal education, it is very difficult to understand how one could unknowingly be infected by a virus and spread it to others.

We have participated already in efforts to get food to needy families and medical supplies to clinics and hospitals here, and now we want to help raise money for expanding these efforts. We want to provide a complement of food and hygiene supplies to individuals and families in Santiago Atitlan who are artisans working with A Thread of Hope and who have lost income due to Covid-19, as well as other at-risk families identified by our community partners: those who usually work in the informal economy and have lost their work due to Covid-19, widows with or without children, pregnant women, and children at risk for malnutrition. We will also include information about good hygiene and practices to help prevent transmission of Covid-19, using graphics and basic Spanish.

A typical “market basket” of food and hygiene products for a week for a family of four includes the following, and costs approximately $28:

3 pounds of rice
3 pounds of black beans
1 pound of sugar
2 pounds of pasta
3 pounds of corn ( for making tortillas)
1 bottle of cooking oil
½ pound of coffee 
1 pound of salt
30 or more eggs  
Incaparina fortified cereal for children and pregnant women
Dry milk
Fruit and vegetables
Laundry soap (powder and bar)
1 bar of hand soap
Toilet paper

All labor for repacking bulk items is donated.

We will also be purchasing EcoFilters for families who do not yet have them. Without filters, tap water is not safe to drink. Many people have GI problems due to the bacteria and parasites in the water they drink. This of course contributes to malnutrition. EcoFilters cost $40. For more information, see

We continue to order handmade crafts from our artisan partners, providing them with income from work with dignity during these difficult times. 

Our initial goal is to raise $2,000. We look forward to raising that, and then more, in order to continue our efforts to provide a safety net for these indigenous families.

Please contact me if you have any questions. And please share this page!

Your support is important. Any contribution will make a difference. We, our community partners, and those families we are helping to support are so grateful for your assistance. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

In cooperation and solidarity,


Eliza Strode, MSW
A Thread of Hope Guatemalan Fair Trade


  • Roberta Adams
    • $28 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jane M Vacante
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Ari Flaks
    • $28 
    • 3 yrs


Eliza Strode
Brookline, MA

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