Buckner has distributed or shipped more than 300 tons of humanitarian aid this year domestically and in the six countries Buckner serves. It's a mark one Buckner leader said meant "survival" for many vulnerable families struggling in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The figure represents a previously reported 103 tons of food and other aid distributed in Texas, as well as an additional 200-plus tons of food collectively distributed in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico and Peru.
Dexton Shores, senior executive director of international ministries for Buckner Children and Family Services, quoted a Buckner NGO country director as saying the aid "has never been more important and more needed than during the past six months."
Internationally, many families have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are unable to provide basic needs for their families.
"Many of our families have suffered with being sick with the virus and many are grieving the deaths of family members and acquaintances," Shores explained. "The food aid provided by Buckner has meant survival and not dying from hunger for the many vulnerable families we serve in six countries."
Buckner humanitarian aid records reflect distribution or shipments of approximately 60,000 pounds to Guatemala; 86,000 pounds to the Dominican Republic; 53,000 pounds to Kenya; and 127,000 pounds to Peru. In addition, Buckner distributed government aid in the Dominican Republic, supplied vouchers for additional in-country aid in Honduras, and Mexico had adequate supplies from prior shipments to help clients there and bring total international distribution to more than 200 tons.
Even still, Buckner is actually behind on international shipments for the year because of trucking issues and food shortages due to COVID-19.
"However, it probably is the fastest our teams on the ground have distributed that much aid" said Steve Watson, director of aid and assistance for BCFS. "Due to the factors mentioned we have been unable to keep up with the overwhelming demand. Each of those shipments is a 40-foot container."
The aid came from a mixture of donations, including Buckner's main international ministry food provider, Feed My Starving Children, which provides their MannaPack™ food aid packets to Buckner.
"This year has been tough for them (FMSC), as they depend on volunteers to pack the food and were unable to pack for several months," Watson said. "They had to pivot and find some companies, a prison and limited staff packing to get up to 50% of their typical output.
"They helped us get food in Kenya when we were completely out, got us one of the first staff-packed containers because of the huge need in Peru, and even provided food for our domestic distributions, even though they typically focus solely on international locations," Watson added. "They have always been a great partner, but have been such a blessing this year given their own challenges."