Sponsorship helps families face high food prices
January 2, 2013
Sponsored aging friends in El Salvador pick up their CFCA nutrition
Rising food costs are again taking a bite out of the already humble budgets of families served by CFCA.
Droughts in the United States, Russia and other parts of Europe, along with inflation in parts of the world where CFCA works, are all contributing to the problem.
Families in Latin America and Africa saw prices increase 10 to 20 percent in one year. Dairy and meat had the biggest increases because livestock feed for chickens, pigs and cattle rose dramatically.
With help from sponsorship benefits, families are able to ride out difficult financial times. CFCA sponsorship helps sponsored friends and their families stabilize their economic situation.
Families in the CFCA program are resourceful when it comes to stretching an already tight household budget.
"Families are incredibly resilient, but rising food prices makes their lives even more challenging," said Dan Pearson, CFCA director of international programs. "The Hope for a Family program seeks to build on each family's strengths to help them deal with unexpected challenges like sharp increases in the price of food."
How you can help
- Encourage people you know
to sponsor a child, youth
or aging friend. Sponsorship
provides material and moral
support to help families become
- Donate to the CFCA
Food Assistance Fund.
Your donation will help support
sustainable food programs
designed to help families
living in poverty achieve
long-term food security.
An example might be a mother who is a skilled seamstress, but lacks the resources to purchase a sewing machine. Helping with that type of purchase can unlock her potential, increase the family's income and allow them to be more prepared for circumstances such as increases in food prices, Pearson said.
Developing each family's strengths through livelihood programs and other initiatives can help them find more efficient ways to provide for basic needs such as food.
Some families cope by finding ways to save money on popular food items, said Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison for Africa. Instead of buying prepackaged corn flour, families in Kenya take dried corn to be ground at the mill.
"It is much cheaper than buying the packaged corn flour at the retail market," Mburu said. "They save up a few coins which they can use for something else, like buying vegetables that can be eaten with the corn flour."
The cost of a basic basket of food in Guatemala, which includes items such as eggs, corn, beans and margarine, increased 10 percent in 2012, said Luis Cocon, CFCA communications liaison for Guatemala. Potatoes were up 20 percent, bananas increased 18 percent and cheese was up 15 percent.
In El Salvador, families face the double-edged sword of rising food prices and high inflation. The average monthly salary for families in rural areas only covers 75 percent of the cost of a basic food basket, which includes rice, beans, sugar, eggs and a few vegetables.
"They work hard in different jobs," said Jenny Cruz, CFCA staff member in El Salvador. "Families trying to overcome the rising cost of food may get an extra part-time job or start a family business."
How CFCA helps
The Hope for a Family program offers direct and indirect support to help families cope with high food prices.
CFCA projects in Kenya, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala provide extra groceries to sponsored children and aging friends throughout the year. By buying in bulk, they can lock in food prices.
Wanjiru makes honey to sell in Kenya. Livelihood programs help
families on the road to self-sufficiency.
Staff members raise awareness among families about practical ways to improve nutrition on a limited budget. Families in Kenya learned to substitute foods rich in protein, such as black beans and nuts, for expensive meat.
The CFCA program in Guatemala provides farm animals, seeds and fertilizer as part of the benefits available to families of sponsored children. Many projects provide small-business loans directly to families or through community groups to which the parents may belong. These loans make it possible for parents to start their own businesses.
A number of sponsors have volunteered to increase their monthly sponsorship commitment to help offset rising costs in the field. These additional funds help CFCA keep benefits for families strong.
"The assistance provided by sponsorship serves as a sort of supplemental income for families who live on very thin margins," Pearson said. "The regular assistance over a period of many years helps families absorb sudden increases in the prices of basic commodities."