Samaritan’s Purse supports a feeding program and micro-enterprise for women in a struggling community in Honduras.
About 30 children enjoyed a hot, healthy meal on a Sunday afternoon at Canaan Christian Ministry church in Siguatepeque, Honduras. The words Jehovah-jireh—“The Lord will provide”—were painted on the wall above a large mural of Jesus feeding the five thousand.
Most of the boys and girls ate up the tortilla, plantains, meat, and rice within minutes of being served. Samaritan’s Purse delivers food to the church once a month, providing meals for the kids five times a week. Our staff members frequently help serve the children.
“The food is very good,” Elda Palona said, a 13-year-old girl who has been coming to the weekly meals since May.
Many of the children who arrive at the feeding center come from broken homes, or from impoverished families who struggle to
provide them with daily food and an education. Oftentimes, the kids drop out of school to work with their parents in the fields.
Elda’s father was murdered when she was just 2 years old, and her mother is in another town caring for an uncle who was recently assaulted. Elda’s older sister, Germinia, is currently watching her.
“This is a huge blessing for my family, for all of these kids, and for my own sister,” Germinia said.
We began working in this area of Honduras in 2004, conducting HIV/AIDS education sessions in the churches and schools. Coralia Rodriguez, the leader of Canaan Christian Ministry, met Samaritan’s Purse staff member Dr. Lul Janania that year, and shared her dreams of starting a feeding center for children and a candy-making business for the women.
She never imagined that God would answer her prayers and make her dreams come true.
“No one thought that with this little piece of land we would do something like this,” Caralia said. “There was no church here when we first started, so we met in our garage. Little by little, we got money to help build the church.”
For three and a half years, Samaritan’s Purse has kept hungry kids full in Siguatepeque. In a community where children could not pass the first grade for years, boys and girls are finally able to stay in school and graduate high school.
Caralia’s daughter, Kory Argueta, helps run the church and feeding center.
“It was hard at first because sometimes we wanted to help the people but could not because of the money,” Kory said. “When we first came to this community, we didn’t have anything to give them and now we are so blessed. We are so grateful to have the help from Samaritan’s Purse.“
“The most wonderful thing is that the people are happy now,” she said. “The kids are smiling and laughing, and we don’t feel useless here anymore.”Kory’s 3-year-old daughter, Zoey, is one of the children who receive the meals.
Along with providing meals, our staff provides school supplies, conducts health and hygiene lectures, leads games and crafts, and teaches the Word of God. After church on Sundays, you can hear the echoing of Bible verses coming from the lower level where the children meet.
Caralia says she has witnessed a major change since the program began.
“Through the feeding center, educational talks, and the Samaritan’s Purse discipleship programs, the kids’ behavior has changed,” she said. “They get sick less, have better nutrition, and are quicker to learn in school.
“Now that the family has food for their children and school supplies, the kids don’t have to help their parents make extra income.”
The project is much more than just giving meals and leading fun activities. Perla Camacho, who has been serving in Siguatepeque for years, said the most important aspect of the program is forming relationships and encouraging others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
At first, only children came to church, but over time, the parents have begun participating as well. Some, like Germinia’s husband, have trusted in Christ for their salvation.
“What I have seen over the four years here is building relationships with the families and the kids,” Perla said. “It’s emotional for me to see the children reciting Scripture and singing and growing spiritually. People are really absorbing the Word of God here.”
Germinia is not only thankful for the feeding program and spiritual encouragement she has received, but also for the candy-making business Caralia started in September 2011. She is one of the eight women who make the “Sweets of Canaan” and sells them in the city.
Samaritan’s Purse funded the buildings, equipment, and training to get the business going. The women have been extremely successful, and now the Sweets of Canaan boxes are seen in gas stations and popular restaurants in town. The group sold 500 candy boxes in May alone.
With their newfound success, the ladies use the profit to help fund the feeding program, as well as provide for their own families.
Recently, Germinia’s husband was laid off from his job at a chicken farm, so her work at the candy factory is helping them make ends meet.
“I like all of the aspects of candy-making, and I enjoy working with the ladies,” Germinia said. “Our dream is for the business to get even bigger so that we can have a regular salary.”
Sweets of Canaan has given the women a marketable skill and helped raise their self-esteem.
What began as a far-fetched dream in Caralia’s mind has now become reality thanks to the financial help and spiritual support of Samaritan’s Purse.
She has many more dreams that she wants to achieve, and since God has already proven Himself faithful, she is not worried about the future. He has been Jehovah-jireh, her provider, for everything.
“God is wonderful and I am very grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for all they have done to help these programs,” Caralia said. “I often think of how great God’s love for us must be, and how great God is to make all of this happen.”