In 2021 as disruptions due to the pandemic continued to impact the people we serve, Rise Against Hunger implemented the 2021 COVID-19 Relief & Resilience Plan to bolster and sustain one of our key priorities–Nourishing Lives through Local Food Procurement. Funds for Local or regional procurement of food commodities were provided to our impact partners through grants, cash-based assistance, cooperative agreements, and other mechanisms. Programming leveraged resources, skills, and partnerships with local suppliers, and enhanced the delivery of a nutrition-rich food basket, including cereals, cooking oil, fresh fruits, and vegetables, proteins, sugar, and salt.
Local regional procurement began in Timor-Leste during 2021. Despite restrictions on movement due to the pandemic, the team started distribution in July reaching various sites including schools, refugee camps, and orphanages. Before, Mario and his two siblings picked up odd jobs to pay for their hostel while they attended the university. After the onset of the pandemic, Mario found it more difficult to find work, then a flood destroyed the home they shared. Although the government and other organizations stepped in to provide relief, it wasn’t meeting their needs. Some days, they reduced their meals and occasionally had to rely on neighbors for support.
Now, Mario and his siblings receive healthy food with high vitamins and nutrients from the the Local Regional Procurement food distribution. Mario says he can sleep well at night knowing healthy food is guaranteed for the foreseeable future. Typically, he received just what was available from other sources, and he appreciates that the food distributed through this project is tailored to support his health rather than to just satiate his hunger