Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico: with more purpose than ever
In Puerto Rico, we have lived very difficult times. In the last 33 months, beginning with the catastrophic impacts of Hurricanes Irma and María, working through a 15-year economic recession and a government bankruptcy, hit Last January 2020 with two earthquakes and constant tremors, a drought, flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic, the foodbank team has demonstrated total commitment and dedication to the underserved communities it services.
Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, a private, non-for profit, was founded in 1988 to alleviate hunger and improve nutrition in disadvantaged communities around the Island. Through our programs, we serve children and families in poverty, college students, seniors, and others.
Through alliances with the food industry, public agencies, and private organizations we receive food donations and redistribute it through NGO’s and churches on a day to day basis, but specially during emergencies. They in turn provide food to populations in need, our mission is to mitigate hunger, where 46% of the population lives below the federal level of poverty.
The team, made up of only 21 employees, have given themselves, body and soul, to fighting hunger and food insecurity that is so prevalent in families living under the poverty threshold and children. Six out of ten children in Puerto Rico live in poverty and three out of every six in extreme poverty. We are few, but we do A LOT.
The testimonies of our beneficiaries are what inspire us every day to give our best.
Hidelisa Cuebas, who lost all the belongings in her house after the floods caused by the passage of storm Isaías in July, received food and essential items.
"I thought I was going to drown because they couldn't get me out, and the water was already on my chest. If I catch that at night, I wouldn't be here”, Cuebas told us.
Nitza Rodríguez, who lost the roof of the house for the tropical system Laura, thanked our food bank with great emotion. “Thanks to the food bank for the help. I thank you with heart and soul ", expressed.
José De Jesús, director of the Manuel Elzaburu y Vizcarrondo School, in San Juan, who helped us reach some of the children, established: "Thanks to Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, we were able to serve snacks to 50 low-income families in our school community throughout the summer in the midst of the health crisis".
For his part, Daniel Irizarry, father of two children who benefited from the same initiative, said: “Since the epidemic started, my children have eaten all they can find, from morning to evening. Sometimes it is difficult for me to go to the supermarket often because of long lines and the epidemic. But thank God for the help of the bank. I thank you from the bottom of my heart".
Gredmarie García, mother of two children who received the Bolsita Alegre commented: “[The COVID-19 pandemic]… Has been difficult, because our children despair, but I am very grateful. From the heart, for our children, this (La Bolsita Alegre) has been a success”.
Many lessons were learned, the first was how to find the children during this time of need. We also learned that love is POWER, and we reinforced our commitment to our people, who need so much, especially in these difficult times.
As we say in Puerto Rico… ¡Seguimos! (We continue)
Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico