Guatemala Food Aid
Fall and Winter 2020-21
Kids To The Country
A Be A Helping Hand resident checks out a new book from the gift bag with her kids in Nashville. Unable to bring kids out of the city to the country
this summer due to Covid-19, we decided to bring a little country to the city. We put together gift bags for the fifty young people who were missing that opportunity. The bags included books, a plant, a nature activities workbook and some fresh fruit. We’re also buying bikes for the kids. Thank you KTC donors and volunteers!
— Mary Ellen Bowen, KTC Program Director
Plenty is funding our friends at ADIBE (Asociacion Desarollo Integral de Belen) as well as Tecnologia Para La Salud (TPS) to deliver needed food, cleaning supplies and masks to Kaqchikel Maya families and especially elders in the Central Highlands of Guatemala. They’re giving out black beans, corn-soy cereal, rice, oatmeal, cooking oil, soymilk and other staples.
(See Guatemala, p. 2)
Plenty International is a nongovernmental relief and development organization. Donations to Plenty are tax-deductible.
Plenty, P.O. Box 394, Summertown, TN 38483
Phone: 931-964-4323 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.plenty.org
Boys try out their new bikes. (photos by Sara Jean Schweitzer.)
(Guatemala, cont. from p. 1)
Plenitud Puerto Rico
More food and supplies deliveries in Guatemala.
Plenty has connected with a new partner in Puerto Rico, a group of kindred spirits called Plenitud PR. They have a small farm near the town of Las Marias in the hills of western Puerto Rico. They’re into permaculture and sustainable technologies but lately are helping to feed elders who live in and around Las Marias and who are isolated due to Covid-19. Recently Plenty awarded Plenitud a grant of $7,000 in support of the organization and the food for elders work. From their website: www.plenitudpr.org “Plenitud Puerto Rico is a nonprofit educational farm and community dedicated to service and sustainability. We provide people with sustainability skills and knowledge needed to encourage inner growth and live in harmony with themselves, each other and the natural world.”
The Plenitud PR kitchen where food is prepared for giving out to the elders.
Over the summer Plenty Belize was focused on responding to hardships caused by the coronavirus. Executive Director, Mark Miller writes: “9,800 lbs. of beans were purchased from farmers whose normal market in Guatemala was closed off due to the virus. The beans were distributed through local food programs, including those run by the Punta Gorda Town Council, the villages of Jacintoville, Hopkins, Silk Grass, Maya Center, and a Belize Government Food Aid Program. Thousands of pounds of corn, rice, flour and other basic foodstuffs were provided to the Catholic Food Pantry managed by the Pallottine Sisters. We also gave several thousand dollars in cash to the pantry program on behalf of one of our donors.”
Recently the Rotary Clubs of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada and Punta Gorda Belize are providing a grant of US $50,000 for the “Livelihood Strengthening Project” we talked about in the 2020 Spring/Summer Plenty Bulletin. Focused on the Mayan villages of Santa Cruz, Santa Elena and Pueblo Viejo in the southern Toledo District of Belize, the project has the following goals:
#1: To strengthen the capacity of grassroots people, village leaders, councils and other groups providing leadership in each of the three villages to design, support and manage social and economic development initiatives.
#2: Enhance the role and voice of women in community decision-making.
#3: Facilitate the design and implementation of three small (one each for youth, men and women) and one larger village level economic and social development project in each of the targeted villages.
#4: Enhance the capacity of village institutions and leaders to develop effective relationships and partnerships with government and nongovernment agencies that will be able to help address critical development issues and
Isle de Jean Charles
(photo by Chief Albert Naquin)
On October 28, Hurricane Zeta came ashore on the Louisiana Gulf Coast with 100 mph winds and
torrential rain. It was the seventh big storm to hit Louisiana this hurricane season, and our Biloxi- Chitimacha-Choctaw friends living on that sliver of land in the Gulf, Isle de Jean Charles, got clobbered with many houses badly damaged by the high winds. Plenty is contributing to the purchase of needed repair materials.
Pine Ridge/BEAR/Books To Kids
Young Lakota woman sews a mask at Pine Ridge.
Plenty has continued to expand its work with the BEAR project (Be Excited About Reading) at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Earlier this year BEAR initiated a project to teach young people sewing skills, and Plenty provided 4 sewing machines, materials, and funding for this effort. Due to the coronavirus, making facemasks
is now the priority. Three experienced Lakota sewers were recruited and with some help from students, they produced over 700 masks for distribution to school children and staff prior to the new school year. The longer-term project goal
is for sewing stations and lessons to be offered at local high schools. Sewing teachers can use their years of
experience to teach practical skills that enable young people to expand their creativity, and eventually continue the Oglala Lakota traditions of making jingle dresses, star quilts and other culturally expressive items.
In addition to the practicality of the masks, the fellowship and activity together is especially welcome during a traumatic time of high suicide rates among the young people at Pine Ridge. The staff at BEAR has long been engaged in suicide prevention and intervention.
In the last few months, Plenty has arranged for the donation of over 2,500 children’s books to the BEAR project. Nearly 1,000 were shipped as part of an exciting new partnership between Plenty’s Books To Kids program and the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation.
The Ella Fitzgerald Foundation is also shipping hundreds of children’s books, pencils, pens and crayons to Books To Kids locations in New Orleans and elementary schools on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
Learn more about the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation at their website here: www.ellafitzgerald.com/foundation
Green Initiatives with “Be A Helping Hand” in North Nashville
Hilsia helped to initiate and manage the children’s nutrition and community education activities that Plenty has funded since 2010 at the Guatemala City landfill. She dedicated the last several years of her life to making sure children living in very difficult circumstances received the nutrition they needed to grow and be healthy. Hilsia was loved by all the children and adults who knew her. She was always there to listen, console and help her neighbors and the broader community in what ever way she could. Hilsia contracted the coronavirus and passed away on June 25.— Chuck Haren
María Marta Coj de Xoquic
pictured with her husband, Agustin.
Maria Marta, known as “Elena” to early Guatemala
Plenty volunteers, and Agustin were central to the 1980 founding and successful operations of the Maya community owned and managed Soy Center (now ADIBE) near Solola, Guatemala. Elena died at home on October 14.
Jeffrey Keating was a founding member of the Farm community that launched Plenty in 1974. He was always one of our “techies” and co-authored the best selling “Big Dummy’s Guide To CB Radio.” He was in the middle of things with Plenty from the early days working as a volunteer in Guatemala and Belize and serving on the Plenty Board. He was an environmental activist and produced a number of video documentaries. Always ahead of the technology curve, Jeffrey helped keep Plenty engaged and relevant. Jeffrey passed at home with his wife, Marilyn on June 28.
BHH volunteers dig a rain garden.
Plenty has been supporting Be A Helping Hand (BHH) to create rain gardens and plant trees in North
Nashville. BHH has also connected with Nashville environmental groups, the Cumberland River Compact, Root Nashville, and the Nashville Tree Foundation for further collaboration on these initiatives.
Volunteers and residents of BHH affordable housing properties are creating rain gardens to help with
storm water run-off and the beautification of a natural habitat for birds and butterflies. The gardens are attractive and practical: the rain garden design controls storm water run-off and helps to alleviate flooding, which is a perennial problem in Nashville. Rain garden plants help to clean the runoff water before it is soaked back into the water table. These gardens also provide a beautiful, uplifting, natural, and sweet-smelling environment for residents to enjoy.
Rain garden sites are chosen based on where polluted storm water runoff mitigation is needed, built at least 10 feet away from homes, six inches below ground level, with native water-loving plants, shrubs, and small trees.
No words can express how grateful we are to have known and worked with these amazing people.
Hilsia Zetino Payes