Sports Friends Peru alleviates hunger during COVID-19
By Tianna Haas | Peru in South America
SIM’s project to feed impoverished families in Peru during the pandemic is growing swiftly. Beginning with a prayer request from Sports Friends volunteer Waldemar, the sobering impact of COVID-19 reached Sports Friends director Paris Segura.
Lindsay Segura, SIM member and Paris’ wife, said: “Various families were calling Waldemar during the quarantine, not knowing if they could continue providing food for their families, as they live in extreme poverty.
“A huge percentage of the population of Peru have informal jobs, so they don’t have the backing of the government in times like this. So, if they don’t work, they literally have no money.”
As the need for prayer spread from the Sports Friends team to several churches in the area, it became clear that it was time to find a way to relieve their suffering.
SIM Peru quickly created a project to gather relief funds for those in Arequipa, which then expanded to Lima, as well. The generous response from individuals and churches in both Peru and the US led to the purchase of necessities for 60 families in Lima.
The bags of food included enough to last a week or more for a family of 5 to 7 people. One of the partner churches, Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) in San Juan de Lurigancho, donated masks and gospel tracks. Sports Friends Peru team member Andrea’s family also donated fruit for the families out of a gift they received. Her dad, a local pastor, eagerly took the opportunity to support a sister church.
Paris, Waldemar, and Jhuvael, a Sports Friends coach, set out to hand-deliver the resources to the first 60 families. Lindsay said: “It took them almost all day to hand out the food. The district of San Juan de Lurigancho is very big and also goes up into the hills. So, they had many different stops to make all over the district to connect with the families that were on the distribution list the church made.”
The three men found the delivery complicated due to social distancing practices and interest shown by neighbours. Still, they witnessed immense gratitude from the families and invited them to connect with their local church.
Paris said: “The families were extremely grateful. Others were completely surprised, as they hadn’t expected such a gift. The youth in particular that are part of the sports ministry were so excited to see their coach and greatly impacted that he was bringing such a gift. Especially when they had absolutely nothing.”
In the hurting the team encountered, they pointed back to Christ, the comforter and healer. One woman they met had cancer, so they lifted up prays for her healing and peace in the Lord.
Since then, the project has taken further shape and set a goal to feed 300 families known to live in poverty. Recently, the relief funds allowed the team to buy 217 bags of food staples, Bibles and Bible study materials. The CMA church took care of this round of distribution to 217 families.
Peru has now lifted quarantine for all but seven regions for those aged 15 to 64. Most have taken this chance to go out and earn money right away.
Lindsay said: “People have returned to their ‘normal’ routine without a second thought: no masks, no social distancing, etc. Many of the churches we work with in such areas are concerned for their families and their district. Please continue praying, as we assume this will be a slow and frustrating process to continue working through the pandemic.”
Support SIM’s response to COVID-19
Do you feel led to join us as we seek to respond to the turmoil caused by COVID-19? Please consider donating to the food relief project in Peru. To give, please visit our donation page, find the nearest entity to you, and use project number 91155.
• The churches involved to follow-up and build relationships with the Venezuelan refugees. Pray those who do not yet know Christ come to faith in him.
• Peru as many go back to work and strive to provide for their families to be safe and abide by the proper precautions.
• The Lord to provide food, both physical and spiritual, to those hungry during the pandemic.
• The SIM Peru and Sports Friends Peru teams as they demonstrate the gospel through love to their community.