The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) reports that the high price of food has made it one of 17 countries worldwide that are at “high risk” of deteriorating food security — astounding for a country whose land is so bountiful.
Because the needs are so great, in the mid-2000’s our founders established a Food Assistance program providing food baskets for 35 to 50 families in the Matagalpa region each month. By 2017, we were serving more than 100 families each month. Their needs are determined by our local staff, who visit applicants’ homes to determine those at greatest risk. Baskets include maize, beans, rice, sugar and other basic commodities.
The recipients of Fara’s food aid are largely women and children (often single women who head their households), elderly couples, or families in which one of the bread-winners has become incapacitated or is living with disabilities. “You cannot help it — when you see somebody doing without, how can you not give if you have the ability to do so,” our co-founder Maria Farahani has said.
Maria, an American whose family has farmed this region since 1912, cites the example of one hard-working recipient ~ a single mother with a special-needs daughter.
Originally the mother worked as a cook and was able to make ends meet for her family. When her two older children grew up and struck out on their own, she was forced to quit the job and take in laundry at home, leaving the household budget severely lacking.
“I can’t leave my daughter alone,” the mother explains. “She doesn’t know better ~ she will eat rocks and dirt. So I have to stay home with her and try to work there.” Yet, she still doesn’t make enough money for subsistence. Our monthly program allows her and her daughter to survive with dignity. This mother is one of scores of struggling families that Fara serves, and we continue to strive to help more.