Monday, November 29, 2021

Fundación Triple-S Donates $250,000 to Support Food Security

By on April 20, 2020

(Courtesy)

Selects World Central Kitchen Puerto Rico, Banco de Alimentos, Iniciativa Comunitaria and Albergue El Paraíso for Initiative

SAN JUAN — Fundación Triple-S has allocated $250,000 to support nonprofit organizations that are working on addressing the lack of food security and other urgent needs in communities around Puerto Rico.

For these purposes, the the first four organizations selected by the health insurer’s charitable arm were World Central Kitchen Puerto Rico, Banco de Alimentos, Iniciativa Comunitaria and Albergue El Paraíso.

“Each of these NGOs fights from a different perspective to ensure that Puerto Ricans have access to nutritious food and attain food security. For our foundation, this is a primary cause and one of the social factors with the greatest impact on people’s health, particularly during this emergency,” Bobby García, chairman of Fundación Triple-S and CEO of Triple-S Management, said in a press release.

The executive stressed that “there is no doubt that the crisis caused by COVID-19 has serious social and economic consequences that affect citizens, as well as the food distribution chain and our resurgent agriculture.” He noted that this is particularly worrisome in Puerto Rico, which imports approximately 85% of its food.

A 2015 study by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics found that three out of 10 adults over the age of 18 suffer from food insecurity in Puerto Rico.

“This is an issue of vital importance for the well-being of our people. We understand that food insecurity worsened after Hurricane Maria and even more so with COVID-19, which has underscored our high level of poverty and vulnerable populations,” said García, who spoke about food security as a panelist at the Clinton Foundation Forum held in Puerto Rico in February. 

Organizations selected to date

World Central Kitchen (WCK)

“World Central Kitchen reactivated #ChefsForPuertoRico in an initiative that has brought onboard restaurants to prepare meals for health workers, homes for the elderly, and the police. The project purchases crops from local farmers to be used in their meals. At the same time, these restaurants can continue to operate and fulfill a critical social need,” García said.

“Without a doubt, we are living an unprecedented moment with very particular needs and different from the emergency activations that we have organized after Hurricane María or the earthquakes at the beginning of the year. Now more than ever, with the disruption in the traditional chain of distribution for many farmers and producers, we must support local food production and distribution to those most in need. Through this initiative, not only can we provide an essential service to health workers and vulnerable populations, but we also have an opportunity to activate the local food economy and help restaurants and farmers keep their businesses operating,” said Mikol Hoffman, director of WCK’s Plow to Plate program.

Banco de Alimentos

Meanwhile, Banco de Alimentos is seeing unprecedented growth in the number of people who lack the resources to provide food for their families.

“Our new contribution is aimed at supporting their relief initiatives in the current emergency and fighting hunger on the island,” García said.

“Puerto Rico faces another crisis (the third in the last 30 months): hurricanes, earthquakes, and now COVID-19. Every crisis comes with challenges, but each challenge, as it builds up, requires much more resilience and strength. This time the demand for food is incredible; the result of over 300,000 new unemployed people, closed school cafeterias, government entities with limited resources to distribute aid, and many aid organizations closed by the curfew order. We are working hard to bring food to each table, amid the difficult circumstances we are dealing with and thus ensure that we have the stamina to forge ahead,” said Denise Santos, president of the Food Bank

Iniciativa Comunitaria

The organization offers a range of services in areas of health, education, and prevention to marginalized populations. Due to the quarantine, they have expanded their services in the food area.

“For the past five weeks, our team of Iniciativa Comunitaria employees and volunteers have been out on the streets, initially educating about COVID-19 and taking care of themselves while homeless. This scenario has been changing as the days go by. We adjusted our interventions to the needs we see on the streets, we incorporated food into our routes and what started with 70 plates, increased to 180 plates of food that are delivered daily to homeless people and people who have lost their jobs and income. Along with this, they are given a mask and gloves with educational information about COVID. Each trip is made taking into account strict security and protective measures,” said Yorelys Rivera Amador, executive director of Iniciativa Comunitaria.

Albergue El Paraíso

“At Albergue El Paraíso we have provided food even when access and sources have been very limited. The coronavirus pandemic brings us a new crisis, a new face of poverty. The profile of our participants has changed dramatically. In addition to the homeless population, we are serving the newly unemployed, immigrants, those whose income ceased or was abruptly reduced. Those who have not been able to access government aid and, if they receive help from the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN), it is not enough due to the high cost of food and difficult access. People who are coming to us now have to deal with an existential dilemma: how to use their scarce resources for food, protection against the coronavirus and their health care,” said Elsie Solano Galán, founder of Albergue El Paraíso.

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