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Delivering food, shelter, and hope to the poorest of the poor
We are so thankful to all the Cross Catholic Outreach supporters who generously responded to the “Transforming Lives in San Isidro” campaign for safe housing and nutritious meals.
We told our donors how families in San Isidro, Nicaragua, were living in mud dwellings that were literally crumbling to pieces around them. These homes would also flood when it rained and were magnets for vermin and disease. It was impossible for these families to keep up with repairs while also working long hours in the fields. Many Nicaraguan families were also struggling with hunger and were unable to meet other critical needs.
In response, our donors reached the full funding goal to shelter families in Nicaragua. The funds were needed for:
Related: Learn how Nicaragua’s low-income farmers are being empowered for success.
The 75 benefiting families have been selected, and our local ministry partner, Rainbow Network, expects to hold the dedication ceremony for the new houses this fall.
These dedication ceremonies are more than just part of a process for transferring the houses to their new owners. They are joyful celebrations punctuated by music, traditional dance, balloons, and opportunities to honor each individual family. Along with the house keys, each family also receives a Bible and a housewarming gift — typically a decorative item to help them settle into their community.
Rainbow Network purposely does not assign a specific house to a given family until the dedication ceremony, at which time the beneficiaries pull numbers at random. The idea is that if any house could belong to anyone, this encourages families to work equally hard on each one when they contribute their sweat equity to the project.
Related: Learn about the impact of Cross Catholic Outreach’s efforts to shelter families.
The Masis/Cruz Family
Santos Rosa García Masis and her husband Francisco Cruz are among the 75 families slated to receive new homes this year.
Santos and Francisco live with their two children, 5-year-old Cesar and 14-year-old Priscila, and Santo’s sister in the rural community of Winston de Castilla. Together, these five family members have been sharing a single room owned by a relative. The floor of the room is dirt, and the walls are a flimsy combination of tarp and rusty sheet metal. This makes life especially hard during storms. The bad weather often causes leaks and turns the floor into a mud puddle.
This family desperately needs a cleaner, more durable, more dignified home, but it isn’t possible for them to build one on their own. Francisco works as a bricklayer, earning only about $280 in a month — more than a day laborer’s wage, but still not nearly enough to provide for a family of five.
Soon, Santos and Francisco’s life will change for the better. They will have a solid floor under their feet and reliable protection from the rain. These blessings are an answer to prayer!
The Obando/Huerta Family
Johana Lisseth Masis Obando and her husband Berman Huerta live in an extremely tiny, one-room dwelling that not only shelters the couple, but also their four children: Jonathan, 12, Nathalia, 8, Francely, 4, and Brandon, 7 months.
Ever since Johana heard about the housing project coming to her community, she prayed to God her family would be chosen. Her greatest desire is to provide a better home for her children, but she knows that kind of expense is not an option. Johana’s husband earns even less money as a miner than Francisco Cruz earns as a bricklayer, which means any investment in home improvements would mean sacrificing the family’s basic needs.
Johana thanks God her prayer has been answered. She will soon receive a new home! We too are grateful for this godsend because her family was among the neediest in the community. We are also happy to learn that Johana is very active with Rainbow Network, participating in community meetings, preparing food for the lunch program and making sure her children attend Rainbow’s school reinforcement activities.
Related: Discover Cross Catholic Outreach’s housing programs around the world.
It’s hard to visualize 1.6 million meals. That’s an enormous amount of food — and that is the number of Vitafood meals headed to Nicaragua with the shipping funds raised by this campaign.
To date, 1.1 million of those Vitafood meals have reached Nicaragua. Once Rainbow Network receives those supplies, we will send the remaining 500,000 meals.
These meals are a critical supply line for places like Rainbow Network’s 60-plus feeding centers in the municipality of La Dalia. One of those centers serves the community of Bonanza, home of the García family.
With ten children to feed, Estebana García’s resources are stretched extremely thin. The family depends on seasonal work at nearby coffee farms, and when that work isn’t available, food becomes scarce.
“There are days when there is nothing at home to eat, but thanks be to God that my children can eat at the Rainbow Network feeding center,” Estebana said. “If it wasn’t for them, my children would go hungry.”
This program is also an enormous help to Celestino Zamora, who lives in the same community. Celestino has been raising his three children on his own since his wife passed away. He survives by bartering yard work for various products he then resells for a small profit; but some days, there is no work and therefore nothing to sell. During those hard times, he has nothing to feed his children but tortillas and salt. What a blessing that he is able to depend on the feeding centers, which serve hot meals to the children during the week and also provide supplies to bring home for the whole family.
Related: Learn about poverty in Nicaragua and how you can help.
Nicaragua is one of many developing countries beset by a lack of safe, secure housing; and around the world, Cross Catholic Outreach is partnering with local churches and organizations to address this need.
Our current housing projects can be viewed on our website, where you can learn about other partners and how you can play a role in rescuing families from home insecurity.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.