In the effort to provide ongoing and consistent help to the people in this part of Guatemala, Servant Ministries has established a monthly assistance program for the children. The Embrace program began in September of 2000 with 29 children. Today, we have between 200-300 children in our program at any given time. The children come once a month to receive assistance, often walking 2-4 hours one way. These children and their parents, represent about 40 different villages.
Sponsorship is $40.00US a month. For that money the children receive vitamins, parasite treatments, medications as available and a bag of food weighing about 50 lbs. An example of what they would receive every month would be: beans, rice, sugar, salt, powder milk, soap for bathing and washing clothes plus about a half dozen other things that we change out each month, along with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
On the day of distribution there is a Bible devotion for the children and a time of sharing for the parents on such topics as, hygiene, food preparation, health, farming or parenting skills. We have quarterly birthday parties and Christmas celebrations. Through donations, we have been able to provide school supplies, periodic hygiene bags, and other special items throughout the year. This program brings incredible joy as we see the changes taking place in the health and countenance of these beautiful and precious children.
Servant Ministries, through its medical clinic, is able to provide medical and dental care to our Embrace children at a small cost to the program. Their families are able to receive care as well for a minimal fee. Because of extra specifically designated offerings in our Samaritan Fund, we have been able to help children with such special needs, such as cataracts, crippled limbs, broken bones, hospital stays, medical and dental treatments both within our clinic and outside.
Throughout the last 16 years we have implemented several special projects, either one time or ongoing; that have been of great assistance to our families. Through special fund raising we have been able to give each Embrace family a water filter; this gift of “clean water” makes a huge difference in the children’s health. We give sponsors the chance to send Blessing Bags to their child which provides them the chance to personally pick out things for their child. We also offer special Christmas packages that benefit the whole family. Some of those packages might include a corn grinder, lantern, hygiene items, dishes and containers of various sizes, blankets, sleeping mats, or hammocks. Another project that we have done is to build Lorena Stoves, which use 1/3 less wood and are much more hygienic and healthier than the typical open fire. One of our biggest projects, to date, has been providing latrines for 137 Embrace families that had no other septic system.
Servant Ministries has been able to help approximately 1000 children in the last 16 years and we look forward to adding to that number. We are trying to reach the neediest children, in order to give them a fighting chance at a brighter and healthier future. The children remain in the program until such time as they have regained and consistently maintained their health, or the parents’ circumstances have changed enough that we try to give another family the same possibility. At that point the child is graduated out of the program. The average stay in the program is between 3-5 years.
We are always looking for additional sponsors to join with us in providing the next generation of Guatemala with a better future. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, click on the "Children Needing Sponsors" tab above to see the children available for sponsorship at this time.