Dominican RepublicDominican Republic

COVID-19 Relief in the Dominican Republic: Food & hygiene kits

Bringing relief to families in the Dominican Republic during COVID-19

Crisis ResponseCrisis Response
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The Need

COVID-19 hit the Dominican Republic in March 2020. As in many other countries, nationwide restrictions were quickly implemented, including the closure of non-essential businesses and a strict curfew. While intended to limit the spread of the disease, these restrictions came with devastating implications for the economy. During the first wave of the pandemic, more than 2.3 million people in the Dominican Republic lost their jobs, in addition to an estimated 1 million people working informal jobs. To alleviate the situation, the government implemented social assistance programs that included food coupons, debt exemptions and financial relief for employers.

After easing some restrictions in May 2020, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases between February and July 2021 led to the reintroduction of drastic public health measures. However, this time the government did not offer any relief programs, leaving millions of already struggling families without the means to put food on the table.

Compassion’s frontline church partners are working in communities with high rates of poverty, where the impact of the pandemic has been especially devastating. Many of these communities rely on local tourism to create jobs and have seen unemployment skyrocket as the industry continues to suffer. Twenty-two of our partners wanted to respond to this ongoing crisis by providing emergency food and hygiene supplies for the most vulnerable children and their families.

Our Response

Compassion is committed to providing children and families with essential care throughout the pandemic. Twenty-two of our church partners in the Dominican Republic identified 1,810 at-risk children whose caregivers were not able to work. These families were in immediate need of food and hygiene supplies.

With your support, we were able to provide emergency food and hygiene kits for these vulnerable families. Each church formed committees that were responsible for organizing the purchase and distribution of supplies. Many churches had already formed relationships with local supermarkets as a result of previous interventions and were able to secure the items at discounted prices. Food packages included beans, rice, sugar, oil, sardines, oats, iodized salt, spaghetti, cornmeal and eggs. Hygiene kits included laundry soap, powdered detergent, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, bath soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, sanitary towels, garbage bags and chlorine.

Packages were distributed at the centres or were delivered to homes, with safety protocols in place. Families received enough food supplies for two weeks and enough hygiene supplies to last 30 days. During distribution efforts, centre staff also took the opportunity to share the gospel with families through talks and short Bible studies.

Activities

Preparing the packages: Church committees purchased, prepared and organized the food and hygiene items to create packages for families.

Distribution: Staff and volunteers either distributed food and hygiene packages from the local Compassion centres or delivered them directly to children’s homes.

Evangelization: Distribution efforts gave church staff the opportunity to share the gospel with families. Some staff held Bible studies with caregivers after they had collected their relief packages.

Your Gift Provides...

● Food kits for 1,480 beneficiaries for 2 weeks (3 meals a day) containing beans, rice, sugar, oil, sardines, oats, iodized salt, spaghetti, cornmeal and eggs

● Hygiene kits for 1,005 beneficiaries for 30 days, containing laundry soap, powdered detergent, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, bath soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, sanitary towels, garbage bags and chlorine

ReportA message from a caregiver

When the food arrived at my house, not only did we have financial problems in my family, but my life was disorganized and empty. I felt that I needed God’s words. I felt alone and depressed, without the strength to fight. Something told me to run away and abandon everyone, but I knew I couldn’t do it and that I needed help. At that same moment, the people from the centre arrived to deliver what they had purchased, and they preached Christ to me. They prayed with me and told me they could bring me a Bible study that would last 5 days for me and my family. I accepted immediately, so they did. On the last day when they made the house call, I accepted Christ along with one of my children. My husband has not yet accepted it nor my other children, but they all go to church with me on Sundays.

Not only was I able to solve the problem of the lack of food in my house, but I can also say that now I feel very good—I feel different from how I was. Now I can pray to God and He listens to me and helps me. I know that with God everything is possible and that I can achieve everything I set my mind to and get to where I want. I have learned that there is hope only in Christ.

May God bless you more every day and may you always be on the path that God wants you to be. May God grant you the petitions of your heart and take care of your family and friends and everyone around you. Thank you very much. I will always be grateful.

Ruth, mother of a Compassion-assisted child at DR0853

ReportThank you for your generosity

With your help, 22 of our church partners in the Dominican Republic were able to distribute emergency food and hygiene supplies to 1,810 children and 4,830 family members—a total of 6,640 people. Families are so grateful, saying that this gift was heaven-sent and arrived right on time, as they did not have enough to eat.

Our church partners are grateful, too. During these difficult times, they are facing monumental needs in their communities. Knowing they aren’t alone in their efforts to reach the most vulnerable has been a tremendous encouragement, giving them courage to keep going.

Compassion exists to set children free from spiritual poverty as well as material poverty. Your gift not only helped our partners meet children’s material needs but gave them the chance to share the gospel with their parents and family members. This has had a measurable impact already, with churches reporting increased attendance at their services and a number of people giving their lives to Christ for the first time.

As our dedicated partners continue to reach out to their communities, churches will keep growing and even more lives will be transformed by the love of Jesus. Thank you for your generous gift!

ReportA message from a centre director

The children who received this food and hygiene support are very grateful and express that it arrived right on time. Many of them had their last meal of the day when their tutor visited with the packages.

With this support we were able to deliver 79 food and hygiene kits to families where we had identified that the parents lost their jobs and that it was becoming hard for them to provide their children with three meals a day. Your donation allowed us to buy enough food for 15 days to those families. The church and community will be always grateful to those who provided the funds that made this possible. We celebrate with great joy that two people accepted Jesus through the home visits when delivering the kits!

This intervention has proven to families that in their hard times the church will always be there for them and that they’re important to us.

On behalf of the church and centre staff I pray that our Lord God Almighty would bless you, and that every work of your hand would be multiplied. Words cannot express the gratitude we’ve seen in the families that had nothing to eat. Through your support it was made possible. Thank you!

Yanitza, Centre director at DR0853