About This Program
The “Bolsita de Amor” (Little Bag of Love) food program is designed to meet the needs of children who do not have the resources available to eat adequately during weekends, holidays and school vacations. The program helps children from low-income families, 52 weekends a year, when school cafeterias are closed. The food to be distributed by the program will come from generous donations and partners and will be free of charge. Volunteers from Dream Center Esperanza pack the food in the backpacks/bags for the weekend.
- Reduce hunger and poor nutrition in school-age children.
- Educate children in the values of their own food.
- Promote healthy lifestyles.
A survey by George Washington University concluded that 40% of Puerto Rico residents are experiencing food insecurity. By contrast, only about 10% of households in the United States as a whole are food insecure, according to the USDA. According to data provided by the Youth Development Institute in 2020, 6 out of 10 children in Puerto Rico live in extreme poverty and 4 of these in chronic poverty.
Factors contributing to food insecurity in Puerto Rico:
- While food insecurity levels in the States did not change between 2019 and 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic raised food insecurity in Puerto Rico from 38% pre-pandemic to 40% in 2020. The pandemic brought supply chain disruptions and loss of income.
- Puerto Rico imports some 85% of its food, leading to higher prices and limited fresh food. Hurricane Maria destroyed 80% of the Island’s crops, and some producers are only now having their first harvest since the 2017 hurricane season.
- 43% of Puerto Ricans and 57% of Puerto Rico’s children live in poverty. The poverty rate for the United States as a whole is 13%.
Dream Center Esperanza anticipates delivering a minimum of 400 backpacks every month to ensure that the children of Puerto Rico have the opportunity for a better future. We understand this number is small compared to the population of children experiencing food insecurity. However, this is our starting goal. As this program grows we intend to grow our reach!
Donate To This Program
Our Goal: 400 meals Monthly = $2000/ month
Each meal cost $5. We strive to packs a variety of Protein, veggies, fiber, fruits and snacks for a weekend.