Buckner International has joined the Latin American Baptist Union and several other Christian organizations and denominations to minister to families in all five countries where Buckner serves. The initiative seeks to provide educational, emotional and spiritual materials to support families quarantined during the coronavirus pandemic, which has swept the globe, including most of Latin America.
Buckner will use materials provided through the organization "Movimiento," or Movement with Children and Youth, to help families cope with the challenges of quarantine, said Dexton Shores, Buckner senior executive director for international operations.
"Movement is providing modules under the theme, 'Healthy Families during the Quarantine' to help families during this critical time" Shores said. "The Latin American Baptist Union, World Vision, Compassion and other well-known organizations are members of Movement and they have invited Buckner to be a participating member."
Carlos Colón, Buckner executive director for international programs, said the collaboration will be "a great opportunity for us to help the children and families we serve with materials they can use. I was so happy and excited to join a group that is so like-minded and seeking the same vision for children."
"Right now, because of social distancing, we are doing daily and weekly phone calls, texts and using WhatsApp. We're already using materials provided through alliance partners that help families with trauma management and stress management," Colón said. "We will use these new modules immediately through WhatsApp with our families through our Family Hope Center coaches and with families in our permanency programs, such as foster care."
Shores said the materials are "excellent and all biblically based. We feel this is a resource our families would greatly benefit from."
The modules explore and seek to help families navigate through the challenges of living together in quarantine. The modules include, "Proper Treatment of Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic”, “Resolving Family Conflicts during the Coronavirus Pandemic”, and “Living Together without Violence during the Coronavirus Pandemic.”
Colón said government-imposed social distancing measures in place in Latin America because of the coronavirus have placed additional financial and emotional hardships on families Buckner serves.
"What I've seen in all the countries where we have work is that most families are living on a day-to-day income, so they cannot stay at the house. They have to go out and work," he said. "That's 80-85% of our families. It puts them at risk because they have to go out. They have their own businesses selling food or other things at the market or on the street.
"They are also afraid because they are exposed and their parents or children are exposed," he added. "There is a high level of anxiety. Our coaches are constantly working to help them. They are also desperate because food is running out in their communities."
Buckner already has distributed food aid in Peru and Guatemala, and Colón said Buckner ministries in Mexico and Honduras are ramping up efforts to distribute aid already in their local storage facilities.