Since 1998, the Fundación centro de promoción social Río Manta (FRM) and its Community Kitchen have been assisting some of the most vulnerable people in Manta, Ecuador. They help seniors, children and people with special needs in ten poverty-stricken neighbourhoods. The Community Kitchen helps members of these communities access healthy food. FRM’s vision is to provide balanced meals, promote knowledge and good practices in nutrition and healthcare, as well as offer recreational activities to its beneficiaries. Canadian Jesuits International has supported FRM since 2014.
Located on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, Manta is a mid-sized city with the largest seaport in the country. Its main industry is tuna fishing and the city’s economy is one of the healthiest in the nation. However, there is great inequity in the city. Those served by FRM are typically migrants from the countryside who have come to the city in search of work. Those who do find employment have temporary or low paying jobs. Parts of Manta were especially hard-hit by the 2016 earthquake and since then, social problems became more acute, as many families lost their livelihood.
To address these issues, members of the Rio Manta Community Centre conduct regular home visits and educational workshops on topics such as disease prevention. The team cooks and provides 120 meals daily in two turns, to 60 children and 60 adults including elderly and people with physical impairment and special needs. The Community Kitchen also regularly conducts glycemic and hypertension testing and parasite cleanses for their beneficiaries. They also offer recreational opportunities such as celebrations for Christmas, mother’s and father’s day as well as team outings.
Some of their contributions are not so easily measured: the friendships formed, emotional support and social skills developed; increased resiliency, self-esteem, and belonging.
Contact: Fr Miguel Herrera SJ
Vice President, Fundación centro de promoción social Río Manta
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