Sylvia Morales and her granddaughters Antonia and Sylvia are filled with joy at the prospect of receiving a sturdy home to keep them safe and dry.

GUATEMALA

An Advent Outreach for Your Knights of Columbus Council

In Guatemala, nearly 60% of people live in poverty, with two-thirds of the population struggling to survive on less than $2 a day. (CIA World Factbook and World Food Programme) These poor families often live in unsafe housing constructed from little more than sticks and mud. During rainstorms, the roofs of these fragile homes often leak, turning the dirt floors into mud.

But there is hope!

Last Advent, Catholic donors like you helped build 59 safe homes as a part of Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu’s new housing ministry. This year, Cross Catholic Outreach is asking your Knights of Columbus council to help us build on last year’s success by providing 64 additional families with safe homes. By meeting this need, the Church can give these precious people a solid foundation in which to build a brighter future.

Beyond providing hope to families in desperate need, this powerful outreach is the perfect way to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and to live out his call to love others as ourselves. When we come together as Catholics, we can carry out one of the Corporal Works of Mercy to shelter the homeless.

Give now and help poor families rise up with joy this Advent season!

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The Need for Safe Shelter in Guatemala

An Advent Outreach

Even though Guatemala’s economy is the largest in Central America, its economic benefits simply do not reach the remote regions where most people live. The daily challenges of such poverty include:

  • Reduced crop yields: Over the past three years, extended dry seasons have reduced crop yields, severely impacting the livelihoods of subsistence farmers.
  • Surging Inflation: Higher costs make it harder for families to plant much-needed crops or buy other resources.

Malnutrition: 47% of children under 5 in Guatemala are malnourished, one of the world’s highest rates. (The World Bank) This leads to stunted growth and development.

Because they face so many challenges, poor families find it nearly impossible to repair their humble homes and afford the safe living conditions their children crave. Parents spend their limited resources on patching up decaying walls and roofs, but their sons and daughters still lack a safe place to rest and study.

When we come together to build safe homes, we will empower poor families and help them Rise Up With Joy!

Meet Our Ministry Partner

Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu

Poor families in Guatemala are experiencing Jesus’ love through the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu! Bishop Pablo Vizcaíno Prado is committed to developing close relationships with the poor so they can be equipped “to build their own futures.” To accomplish that, the bishop believes his outreaches should offer spiritual and material blessings.

He is committed to following the model of Jesus, who “searched for the poorest.” Rather than simply addressing the situations that come to them, the diocese’s Caritas outreach team travels up to two hours on extremely rough dirt roads to reach remote villages in order to build relationships with those in need.

Through the support of compassionate Catholics like you, the diocese has been able to empower local families with small-group faith formation, home construction, food relief, agricultural training, academic scholarships and solar-powered community water systems.

Marleny and her daughters are grateful for their new concrete-block home, built next to their old makeshift home. For the first time, they have windows, a lockable door and a cement floor.

Goals for this Outreach

Providing Safe Shelter for Families

With your help, we can build 64 safe homes in partnership with the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu. Each of these new homes will feature:

  • A 338-sq.-ft. floor plan, with two bedrooms and a common area that is a dining room and living room.
  • Concrete walls and flooring and a galvanized metal roof.
  • A secure metal door and shuttered windows.
  • A sanitary latrine to promote hygiene and dignity.

The Alvarez Family Needs Your Help

Nilson and Deini Alvarez pray daily for strength as they try to keep their 3-year-old son safe from the scorpions, snakes and rats that find their way into their flimsy home.

“Always, always, we have animals crawling around,” Nilson said.

Like many families in rural Guatemala, the Alvarezes live in a one-room home constructed from old wooden planks and palm tree branches. In addition to letting in dangerous vermin, the many openings in this makeshift house allow rain to stream inside, turning the dirt floor into mud. They worry because their son, Mario, constantly has a fungus between his toes from walking barefoot through the mud inside the home.

A mother, father and their young son stand inside their home with a dirt floor while sunshine comes through the large cracks in the walls.

Sunlight shines through cracks in the Alvarez home. But on rainy days, water streams in and turns the dirt floor to mud.

As subsistence farmers, Nilson and Deini can barely grow enough food to support themselves and could never afford to build a secure home. But that hasn’t stopped them from praying to God for help, and their hope in the Lord remains strong.

“We ask God to send people with good hearts,” Nilson said.

This Advent, you can change the lives of the Alvarez family and other Guatemalans with safe shelter. Give now!

Get the Whole Family Involved With Our Free Advent Activity Guide

This guide is the perfect opportunity to engage your family with the Corporal Works of Mercy, activate compassion toward the poor, and transform lives with the hope and peace of Advent.

Download our FREE 2023 Advent Activity Guide or visit the guide online for family-friendly activities, crafts, liturgical readings, prayers and more!

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures for this project incurred through June 30, 2025, 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.

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. Create Your Legacy!