Mayan Families Needs Your Help

Amigos of Mayan Families,

Many of you may be aware that Guatemala is facing a huge crisis. The President of Guatemala has called it “a calamity”. The drought has caused severe food shortages and the cost of basic food items continues to rise daily. According to Unicef almost half of Guatemala’s children are chronically malnourished—it has the sixth worst record in the world. In parts of rural Guatemala, where the population is overwhelmingly people of Mayan descent, child malnutrition reaches 80%. A diet of little more than tortillas does permanent damage. This is the only diet that many families have right now.

In Guatemala, which has some of the worst levels of chronic malnutrition, children have already started dying. In rural areas, thousands of families can no longer afford to eat. Malnutrition rates are rising among the very young, and the elderly. We have many mothers who are not eating, just surviving on a few tortillas a day so that they can give the food to their children. Children who suffer from chronic malnutrition are not in immediate danger of starvation, but they will face stunted growth and a diminished mental capacity. The children don’t look underweight — they just look tiny. Some have light hair, others have patches of hair missing, some are even bloated. Families that before could afford to feed their children, are now struggling but the families that were already living without enough to eat are now facing daily hunger and the children are quickly becoming malnourished and sick. Daily, we have families coming to our door who have nothing to eat. The worst affected are single mothers whose wages were barely able to keep the family together before this crisis. Now, they just do not have enough to feed their children even the very basics.

Through your help, Mayan Families currently feeds over 110 children everyday at our three pre-schools. These are children that have been identified as malnourished or are in danger of becoming malnourished. We have started a feeding program for the Elderly this week. Many of the elderly people do not have enough to eat and are becoming very malnourished and weak. We need your help to be able to continue to feed these people and the many more who need help. This is a crisis situation and while we believe in long term solutions…right now… people who are hungry cannot wait for crops that will grow during a severe drought or chickens that will lay eggs. They need help today. The biggest need and challenge facing the indigenous people of Guatemala this year and in the coming year will be the struggle to have enough to eat. The United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF, reports that Guatemala has the worst malnutrition problem in Latin America, even higher than the 35.2 percent average in Africa!

October 1st is Children’s Day in Guatemala. We traditionally celebrated this with a pinata and cake. This year, in the hopes of giving children food, we are asking for a small donation of $10 or more to be able to provide a child with a bag of corn and several pounds of beans to take home. Beans are sometimes the only protein the children will receive. We need food for general distribution… this is for families that are in desperate situations, many of these will be single mothers.

A 100 lb bag of corn is $35US. This will supply a family of five with tortillas for two weeks.
A 100lb bag of black beans is $90 US.
A carton of 30 eggs is $5US.
A basket of food with a cooked chicken is $35 US.

To help a family get through this crisis, please consider donating today. Any donation of any size, to help feed a child and their Family will be greatly, greatly appreciated. We don’t want to turn people away that we know can be helped. With your generous donation, we can help those who are in terrible situations and give them hope. If you would like to nominate your sponsored student to receive your gift of food, we would be very happy to do that.

TO DONATE: Please click on the link to visit our website and donate online at
Donate Online
and put it in the General Donation area, “Where most needed”. You may also choose to send your donation in the form of a check. Please make it payable to Mayan Families and send to:
Mayan Families
P.O. Box 52
Claremont, N.C. 28610

We are asking you to join in our efforts to help the Guatemalan people by giving a tax-deductible donation. We hope that you will be able to help us with a donation of $25, $50 or more, this will feed a lot of children. However, any donation no matter how small is always welcomed and appreciated. We make every dollar count! We are asking that all contributions – personal, employee and corporate – be made as soon as possible.

You can make a difference right now, today! Thank you for your support.

Best wishes,
Sharon Smart-Poage
Tel: 619-550-2608
ABOUT US: Mayan Families is a small non-profit group working in the Highlands of Guatemala. We are a registered 501(c) (3) Non Profit Charity. Your donation is tax deductible.

Thank you once again for supporting Mayan Families!

From Holly: Our family has made a small donation so that Irma (our sponsored student, #778) and her sister will have food to celebrate Children’s Day. Please consider donating just $10, it can make such a big difference! Thank you!!!

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