At the heart of the Food for the Hungry (FH) program model is the welfare of the most vulnerable people in a community, typically children and the elderly. Programs transform communities by focusing on four key areas of interventions: Health, Livelihoods, Disaster Relief Reduction (DRR)/Response and Education.
A livelihood is a way of earning enough to feed and take care of the family. Families learn the importance of not depending on a single option to make a livelihood but to diversify.
Mrs. Maria Mejia lives in the Olivero community of the Dominican Republic. At the age of 72, her poor health kept her from being able to earn a livelihood. She yearned for the days when she could work in the fields harvesting peanuts, corn, vegetables and other produce. Her four grown children helped Maria as much as possible, but they struggled to feed families of their own.
Through the livelihood component of FH’s work in Maria’s community, FH taught her and other families how to raise chickens for the production of eggs. Not only do the eggs feed the families, but the families can generate an income by selling them, allowing them to buy other essential products. When Maria learned that she was chosen to be a recipient of the program, she energetically helped her grandson find wood for building a chicken coop. As he worked on the coop, she handed him wood, nails, and other building materials.
FH teaches families how to raise chickens for the production of eggs. Not only do the eggs feed the families, but the families can generate an income by selling them, allowing them to be able to buy other essential products.
Maria no longer yearns for the days when she lived a productive life. Today, she is busy feeding, watering and caring for her chickens. Her devotion to the task led to her chickens being the first in the community to start laying eggs. With the income she now makes, Maria not only can provide for herself, but she also donates to her church and helps her neighbors from time to time.
The community has started a savings group of which Maria has become a part. She is able to buy more chickens every 15 days with the money she makes, allowing her to help her children and grandchildren to stay healthy. Maria is thankful to God, FH and the community leaders for their support, not only for her, but also for others.
FH cares deeply about seeing the lives of children, the elderly and entire families transformed, by renewing a purpose in their lives.