guatemala

Stand Against Poverty in a Devoutly Catholic Community

Imagine waking up and not knowing when you’ll eat your next meal. That’s the reality 4 in 10 Guatemalans face every day. Food insecurity is especially pronounced in the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu, where 70% of children and families are Catholic — twice Guatemala’s national average. There, malnutrition disproportionately affects vulnerable children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities.

We are called to see Jesus Christ in the faces of Guatemala’s hungry children and families — and to defend their dignity. Cross Catholic Outreach needs your help to stand with the diocese and fight hunger with long-term solutions, beginning with building a warehouse and social pastoral center, and then providing meals for families throughout the diocese.

Food Distribution

Help us deliver 816,480 nourishing meals, train 200 families to grow healthy home gardens, and build a warehouse to store and distribute food.

Spiritual Formation

Support the construction of a permanent social pastoral center — a new spiritual headquarters to grow and defend the Church’s presence.

Download the Proposal

Ana Lucía López needs your help to feed her family and neighbors in the remote village of Japon Nacional B.

Starving in the Garden

Guatemalan Produce Can Be Found at Your Grocery Store — While Families There Go Hungry

Agricultural exports like coffee and bananas drive Guatemala’s economy, but there’s a tragic hunger crisis within its borders. Families in the diocese have faced years of seasonal droughts, forcing poor farmers to dip into their food reserves to pay off debts. Your gift will empower families to grow organic produce in home gardens and could provide a new source of income — protecting their God-given dignity. 

Fighting Food Insecurity With Home Gardens

It’s incredible what seeds and good soil can accomplish to fight hunger and restore faith. This spring, Cross Catholic Outreach is teaming up with the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu, Guatemala, to provide home garden supplies and training for 200 families. Be a part of this simple but lifesaving solution today as we fill stomachs and show Christ’s love.

Dina Recinos wants to give her children the world, but she needs your help to give them the nutrition they need in order to thrive.

Dina’s Race to Defend Life

Pregnancy should be a time of joyful anticipation. But for Dina Recinos, a 24-year-old wife and mother with her second child on the way, it’s a time of deep anxiety due to food insecurity. There’s a critical 1,000-day nutrition window — from conception to a child’s second birthday — that can drastically alter a child’s future. For Dina’s baby, we are in a race against time.

Nearly half of Guatemala’s children are chronically malnourished, the highest rate in the region.

Francisca’s Prayers for Food

Francisca Ramos, 72, is a testament to the power of daily prayer. This widowed grandmother of four was among the first to receive seeds and training for her own home garden, thanks to the support of an early benefactor. This gift helped her family survive mandated lockdowns during the COVID-19 crisis. She prays that more families will be similarly blessed with home garden supplies, because she knows firsthand how it feels to go through life hungry.

Francisca Ramos prepares a meal for her grandchildren using traditional plants cultivated in her home garden.

A Sustainable Solution to Fight Malnutrition

Empower the Church to make a lasting change

The Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu is located on Guatemala’s southwest Pacific coast and is home to nearly 500,000 Catholics. This project will lay the foundation for the local bishop and lay leaders to alleviate poverty. The first step is to build a warehouse to store large shipments of food — critical in the fight against malnutrition — and a social pastoral center to promote lasting change.

$1,213,173 is needed to accomplish these goals and provide long-term solutions to feed families physically and spiritually.

About 47% of children under age 5

suffer from stunted growth, a devastating side effect of chronic malnutrition.

Nearly 60% of Guatemalans

live below the country’s poverty line — and increasing due to COVID-19.

• 1 in every 10 Guatemalans

live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 per day.

Bishop Pablo Vizcaino Prado

Bishop Pablo Vizcaino Prado has led the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu for all 25 years of its existence. He’s dedicated his life to the Church and leading all souls to heaven. 

Years ago, desperate mothers would baptize their children in exchange for food, a custom known locally as “baptisms of rice.” Bishop Pablo Vizcaino Prado put an end to this practice and brought in new strategies to teach families what it truly means to belong to the Catholic Church. Through small group prayer, retreats, and the addition of a permanent catechesis, Bishop Vizcaino Prado has built a strong faith community — but he needs your help to continue bucking the trend.

food-icon

A Plan to Fight Food Insecurity

Addressing Immediate Needs, Building Long-Term Solutions

Families in the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and should have the same opportunities and dignity all God’s children deserve. Tragically, they lack even the most basic needs — especially food. Daily battles with hunger sap hope and prevent families from investing time in meaningful activities to improve their lives.

Provide nutritious Vitafood meals to fight malnutrition right now and build facilities to manage transformative efforts for years to come.

Did you know? Vitafood is the generic name for all fortified meal packs Cross Catholic Outreach provides to the poor. MannaPack Rice™ is one of the Vitafood brands we distribute to help restore health to children and families.

A Uniquely Catholic Community

Nourish faith in a community with twice as many Catholics than the national average.

Food & Faith Security

Food security goes beyond filling stomachs to demonstrate God’s love.

Addressing Future Needs

With new plans on the horizon, the diocese needs a suitable warehouse to move forward.

A Uniquely Catholic Community

A Model of Faith and Spiritual Growth

When Saint John Paul II established the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu 25 years ago, the Church in Guatemala struggled with a decline in participation. Today, the diocese is a model of hope. That’s what makes the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu so unique. With 500,000 Catholics and counting, the community is rich in faith — but the future of our Church depends on constant spiritual nourishment. Cross Catholic Outreach wants to help build a permanent social pastoral center so the diocese can effectively manage projects addressing the root causes of poverty. In this way, the diocese will be empowered to meet both spiritual and physical needs of families who have endured so many trials.

Fight Hunger. Fuel Faith.

As Catholics, we know hope can arise when all seems lost. Celebrate the Lord’s resurrection by extending blessings to our brothers and sisters in need.

Our Vatican-Approved Approach

Cross Catholic Outreach is a leading expert in integral human development with multiple Vatican endorsements. Our approach aligns with Catholic social teaching. We value the dignity of every man, woman and child, supporting their cultural, economic, social and spiritual needs. To accomplish this complex work, we have a close relationship with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Holy Father’s developing world outreach.

His Eminence, Cardinal Robert Sarah

“I wish to encourage the possibilities for aid that comes from our collaboration with Cross Catholic Outreach. Such help is a most commendable expression of the Catholic Church’s care for the poor and needy, making manifest the charity of Christ.”

Food and Faith

Standing in Solidarity With the Poor and Caring for God’s Creation

The dry season from January to June is a dangerous time for poor families in the diocese. Farmers often have no choice but to use their own food to pay off debts — then watch as their families go hungry. With your help, Cross Catholic Outreach will provide all-natural home garden supplies, including fertilizers and pesticides free from harsh chemicals. Your gift will also help meet immediate and long-term needs.

Hear what beneficiaries have to say about how home gardens can change lives:

816,480 Vitafood meals

Enough to feed 400 families for an entire year.

Sustainable home garden supplies

For 200 families to end the threat of malnutrition.

4,300-square-foot warehouse

Food, medicine and building materials storage.

Permanent social pastoral center

To grow and protect strong faith communities.

Bishop Vizcaino Prado, center, reviews engineering plans during a recent visit to the site of the future social pastoral center and warehouse.

Addressing Future Needs

A Warehouse Is Needed Now to Move Forward With a Clean Water Project

Click to see full size blue-print

A new warehouse fills a critical need in our long-term strategy to fight poverty. Cross Catholic Outreach has secured funding to build a one-of-a-kind solar-powered deep-water well and elevated storage tank — a project that will allow clean water to flow directly into 180 homes. But first, the diocese needs a warehouse to safely store construction supplies and food to be  distributed to nine communities.

Food and clean water projects are only the beginning! Your gift will kick-start a long-term community transformation strategy.-

What a Warehouse Can Offer

Health

A safe, dry place to stockpile future medical equipment and supplies to protect children and families from preventable illnesses.

Nutrition

Storage of food to prevent malnutrition and promote healthy brain development in babies and children.

Family

A secure location for construction supplies to build a deep-water community well in 2021.

Community Development

Home garden supply storage so families can harvest organic produce, supporting the dignity and rights of workers.

Spiritual Formation

Help families escape survival mode, opening opportunities to develop a deeper faith.

Experienced Leadership

We believe integral human development must align with Catholic social teaching. Cross Catholic Outreach’s project managers have the right mix of international development credentials and spiritual leadership to accomplish incredible works.

Rebecca Riccitello

International Projects Manager

Rebecca holds a master’s degree from the University of London and has a decade of international project management experience. She collaborates closely with our partners to track project scopes, schedules and costs.

More Than Merely Filling Plates

Father Lewis Papera shares his heart for the poor and why he gives to Cross Catholic Outreach.

By supporting hunger solutions, you do more than feed families in need — you extend God’s mercy with a tangible expression of his love.

Build Communities in Christ

Carry Out God’s Work on Earth and Bring Souls Closer to Heaven

The Church calls us to address the root causes of poverty. With your support and the intercession of saints, we can enact real, lasting change for our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Join us now to put Catholic social teaching into action.

End Hunger. Nourish Souls. Glorify God.

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You Are in Our Prayers

Cross Catholic Outreach’s staff prays daily for friends of the ministry. Click below to submit your prayer intentions.

What is Your Legacy Mission?

When you include Cross Catholic Outreach as a beneficiary in your will, trust, retirement account or life insurance policy you will make a difference for poor communities by meeting both material and spiritual needs for generations to come.

Answer the Call

Learn how you can engage in projects serving the poor and their communities around the world.

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Cross Catholic Outreach

Our mission is to mobilize the global Catholic Church to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ. Your gift empowers us to serve the poorest of the poor by channeling life-changing aid through an international network of dioceses, parishes and Catholic missionaries. This cost-effective approach helps break the cycle of poverty and advance Catholic evangelization.

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2021, the close of our ministry’s new 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.