CFCA serves approximately 84,000 sponsored children and elderly in Guatemala. Here is a recipe from Isabel, mother of a sponsored child in Guatemala, who makes and sells coconut bread to help her family’s income. This recipe makes approximately 20 pieces of bread. Get the full recipe
By Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer
Juana, the mother of two CFCA sponsored children, cleans scallions, also known as spring onions, for 8 hours a day, three days a week in a small town in Guatemala.
Does she get tired of onions after all that time? “No!” Juana said. Her appreciation only grows. “Our onions are good. People in other towns and countries come to buy them. You should try them grilled,” she suggested. “It will make your mouth water!”
From left: Lucia, Zoila, Ramos and Juana start their work day at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., peeling spring onions that are a delicious part of local meals. Lucia and Juana are mothers of CFCA sponsored children, Zoila is sponsored through CFCA, and Ramos is a former sponsored child. Read more
In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, some Unbound staffers organize giving activities to make the occasion extra special!
“On Feb. 1 we make little pieces of paper with our names on them,” said Irma Leticia Raquec Ros, an Unbound social worker. “Everyone gets to pick one. The person whose name appears on the little piece of paper will be your secret friend for the next couple of weeks.”
Every day after that, Irma said, staffers will bring small items such as cookies, chips and candy into the office and put them into the “secret friend” gift box (the bright red box pictured next to Irma).
“We have fun playing this game,” said Rocio Esmeralda Suguach, another Unbound social worker. “At break time we all come rushing to see what we got!”
On the big day, Feb. 14, the Unbound staffers will bring a larger gift such as a teddy bear, roses, clothing or special chocolates. Then the gift-givers reveal themselves to their no-longer-secret friends!
“Every day is a special day, but Valentine’s Day gives us the opportunity to say ‘I love you,’ ‘You are special’ and ‘Thank you’ to our friends, family and everyone that touches our lives,” Irma said.
For me it was a great blessing to have been sponsored, because in my family we are 11 siblings. For my parents it has been a little bit hard to help every one of us move forward, and much more now that my dad is suffering from health problems, just like my mother.
My sister Selva has already graduated thanks to God and CFCA’s support. Seven of my siblings have already graduated, and only four remain to finish.
It has been a very nice experience to be in CFCA, because besides giving us food, shoes and clothing every month, we have had many activities.
I really liked the CFCA Christmas celebrations. The activities that take place are very nice, and I really like to participate in them.
The CFCA social workers who have helped me for the past 12 years have been very kind, as well as the entire CFCA staff; they have a unique way of caring for the people. Read more
It is painful to see my country bleed.
The bodies of two little girls, ages 6 and 12, were found on Jan. 16 dumped on a street in Guatemala City. Police said that both girls had been asphyxiated.
As I watched the evening news, I could not help but think of what these helpless children went through and the pain that their family was suffering. I was moved; our whole country was moved. These could have been our own children.
Violence has affected my life and the lives of those in my country in many ways. It has affected the way we live, play and go about our daily lives.
I remember as a child playing in my neighborhood streets for as long as I wanted, even after street lights came on. My children cannot enjoy that kind of freedom. Read more
“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page. Photo credits go to Ricardo Ajpuac, CFCA staff member in Guatemala.
Here’s wishing you every blessing in this special season to give thanks and begin anew.
Counting on God’s blessings, we look forward to a tranquil and relaxing journey. The coffee is red ripe on the trees. School is out, and children fill the mountain air with their giggles. Read more
For Erin Gaffaney, CFCA sponsorship runs in the family.
Erin learned about CFCA through her grandfather, Harold.
Over the years, Harold talked to his family about sponsorship and it stuck with them.
“Over time I think some of his children and grandchildren saw the example he was setting and we now sponsor kids or elderly people ourselves,” Erin said.
Erin, an elementary school music teacher, sponsors an elderly gentleman, Jose, in Guatemala. Sheís also using her musical talents to support CFCA’s work.
Erin collaborated with a friend to record a Christmas CD titled, “Prepare Him Room.” The duo will be donating proceeds to CFCA.
“It was never our intent to make this CD a money-making venture,” Erin said. “It thrilled me more to make a quality product knowing that what we were doing was really going to affect people’s lives.”
The musical team put on two CD release parties in their local area and had CFCA sponsorship folders displayed on tables during the live shows.
Erin said CFCA was on the top of her mind when she was thinking about where proceeds would be donated because she was getting ready to meet her sponsored friend on a CFCA awareness trip. She met Jose Dec. 28 at the CFCA center in Guatemala.
The group of sponsors participating in the trip includes her grandfather, mother and two sisters.
“It’s kind of turned out to become a generational thing,” she said, “which is really neat to see.”
Bob Meyer has volunteered at CFCA headquarters for the past seven years and is dedicated to helping fight poverty around the world.
In addition to volunteering, he’s using his writing talents to help families in poverty realize their dreams for a better life.
Inspired by his love of baseball and a desire to help others, Bob wrote and self-published a book, “Small Town Baseball Ö BIG LEAGUE DREAMS,” focusing on semi-pro baseball in eastern Iowa from the early 1900s to the present. Proceeds from the book are being donated to CFCA and another charity close to Bob’s heart.
Bob has sold more than 600 copies so far, and is planning to donate $1,500 from book sales to CFCA.
“It was the right thing to do,” he said.
Meyer first learned about CFCA sponsorship through a priest visiting his church.
Shortly after beginning their sponsorship of Jeferson in Guatemala, Bob and his wife, Ruth, decided to visit him on a CFCA trip. Read more
We’ve told you the stories and showed you the pictures, but it’s still hard to translate the actual joy experienced on a CFCA awareness trip.
Zena Weist is a digital marketing professional, blogger, mom, CFCA social media advisory board member and now a CFCA awareness trip traveler!
On Dec. 26, Zena will embark on a weeklong trip to Guatemala to meet her 18-year-old sponsored friend, Angelica.
This is Zena’s first trip to visit her sponsored friend, and she plans on sharing as much information as she can with us while she is there. Read more
Friends, as many of you know, western Guatemala suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake last week (see our CFCA news report) that affected at least 80 of our sponsored friends and their families.
One sponsored child died during the quake, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. (We’re still trying to reach his sponsor, so weíre not able to publish his name yet.)
Others suffered partial or complete loss of their homes and belongings, especially as many of their houses were humbly built with adobe or mud rather than reinforced with concrete and steel.
These homes were less able to withstand the earthquake’s force and made the impact far more devastating. Many of these houses are destroyed or so unstable that remaining in them would be dangerous.
As our staffers in one community reported, a family was heartbroken because their house, which represented many years of work, was damaged in the quake. As a stopgap measure, they are cooking in the yard and sleeping in a small room that has cracks in two corners.
Our staff on the ground will continue to work closely with sponsored friends and their families to assess and monitor their needs. We’ll be using funds contributed to our disaster assistance fund to pay for repairing and rebuilding homes, replacing possessions lost in the quake, and any other support these families may need.
Please consider making a donation to our disaster assistance fund to help families affected by the quake. This will greatly help us in providing the assistance they need.
One hundred percent of donations to the fund are sent to our projects to be used where they’re most needed, as determined by CFCA and local project staffs in conversation with sponsored friends and their families.
Thanks so much, and we deeply appreciate your concern and support.