Familias Saludables is the HIV/AIDS program in Roatan since 2002. Which provides education and testing, free of charge to the general public. To “People Living with HIV”, they provide counselling, support programs and groups, clothing and medication and as well, operate a bilingual school for children affected by HIV.
This recent pandemic has affected their client's with more concern than the average person as they are living with lowered immune systems so they are most likely to contact the virus and least likely to survive if they do contract it.
Many of their clients worked in the tourist industry and were let go immediately as Roatan went into quarantine. Many of them already had difficulty getting work due to the stigma associated with immunosuppressive diseases on the island. The government ordered the school to be shut down, which was an immediate problem for many of the children who are already living in poverty as Familias Saludables fed the children twice a day at the school.
Familias Saludables knew immediately there would be hunger issues in some of the client's, very impoverished homes. Within a couple weeks of no income group members noticed that children were often poorly fed or were not fed at all. The group put out the message to their supporters all over the world. The world responded with donations so the Friday food drives began.
The group carefully assessed what it would take to feed a family of four nutritionally for a week and came up with a list that includes meat, vegetables, fruit for a balanced diet. They started the first week with a list of eighteen families. As the weeks have gone by other families came into the clinic in desperation, as their savings or other options had completely run out.
Many of Familias Saludables ‘s children have lost their mothers and live with other family members or on the street. Many of the parents were in a situation for the first time of their lives, that of not being able to feed their children anything. Some of their clients are very poor and in two case, parents turned into beggars on the street. One of the grandmothers usually begs in front of the Eldon’s downtown in her wheelchair. When Eldon’s was forced to close, she had no other options. She also was affected by all the non-Hondurans leaving the country, as they were often the ones who would give her money.
Mrs. Valerie Nelson, director of Healthy Families, stated that, “when you can’t even beg for money what do you do? Remember this is a country with no welfare, subsidized housing, food banks, etc". Familias Saludables has been doing the Friday grocery runs for seven weeks now and their list is now up to 44 each week of desperate families in the program. They are spending about fifty dollars per family so that is $2,200 a week. The program tailors their donations to fit each family so they may include almond milk to children that are lactose intolerant, or other modifications that they will not be able to get.
The truck has been loaned to Familias Saludables by Ms. Deborah (of Steel Pan fame) and they use volunteers each week to drive. Families are so thankful for this support as there are no options for them. We all hope this disaster ends soon but they need donations to help support these families who have no alternatives for one or two more months.
Familias Saludables, sends thanks to all of their donors as well as the volunteer drivers! If after reading this article, you can provide even a few dollars to add vegetables or a fruit to a families’ food bag please send it to:
PayPal or transfer it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping the neediest at this time. True generosity is giving to people who can never return it back to you. Remember we stand together in Solidarity during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Director of www.centinelainformativo.com