Recently GEPAN saw a surge in requests for food items coming from families in fragile situations. This can be attributed to the COVID-19 crisis, which is experienced differently across the social spectrum in Guyana. Low-income households are on the frontline bracing the financial and economic consequences resulting from COVID-19. Unemployment, reduced wages and reduced revenues (especially for local vendors and farmers) are some of the challenges that came with the pandemic. The level of unpreparedness of the country left many on the verge of poverty or extreme poverty.
How this has affected our work
Though maintaining a food bank was part of GEPAN’s activities before the pandemic, the number of interventions to deliver food items to families in need quadrupled with the rise in requests. Luckily, with the steady support of donors both in and out of Guyana, we were able to service households with the basic necessities to sustain their families. In the last few weeks, we delivered 190 lbs of flour, 182 lbs of sugar, 78lbs of salt, 161 lbs of rice, 91 lbs of milk, 90 l of cooking oil, 64 lbs of oats, 340 bars of soap and 150 lbs of beans. In addition to these items, hampers also contain toothpaste, sanitary napkins, toilet paper, bleach, laundry detergent, and canned goods (meat/fish/vegetables).
Who our beneficiaries are
Because of the high demand, GEPAN responds directly to requests from people who contact us directly. Indigenous families in the hinterland are also supported with the logistical support of the National Toshaos Council.
Though GEPAN benefits from the steady support of core donors, the COVID-19 crisis increased pressure on the organisation to replenish its food bank at a much quicker rate. The decline in donations associated with the health crisis further heightened this strain, forcing us to prioritise our interventions accordingly.
While beneficiaries in rural and hinterland areas can be particularly vulnerable and at risk of poverty, we continue to receive requests for help from families in peri-urban communities such as on the East Coast Demerara. As a result, our upcoming intervention will focus on some of these families.
How you can help
We replenish our food banks with donations in kind by providing donors with a list of the main items we put in our solidarity hampers. GEPAN also accepts monetary donations through our online donate button, and this is particularly convenient for our overseas donors. Sharing our activities in your circles is another excellent way of contributing to our work. And not the least important, getting involved by joining our team also allows you to take action.
For further information on what we do, check out more of our website!