The little brick houses that dot the dirt roads of the Loma Merlo community are the humble homes of families and seniors living in extreme poverty.

Chalice children nutrition - Dominica daily lunch program, Paraguay

Families are often large and supported by a single parent. Food insecurity is common, and the mealparents are able to provide are often inexpensive staples such as rice and cornmeal. These foods provide calories but lack the nutrition children need to grow up healthy and strong.

Sr Ursulina and her Dominican congregation are devoted to serving these families and elders. In partnership with Chalice, they built a community dining hall in 2013. The San Pedro Dining Hall has become the core of the community. Every day, Monday to Friday, teams of volunteer mothers arrive early in the morning to prepare and serve the day’s lunch. The meals are large and nutritionally balanced.

Lunch service must go in shifts to accommodate the need. Each day, 120 sponsored children along with 10 seniors and another 10 non-sponsored children, arrive for three sittings of meal service.

Each is required to wash their hands before entering, and they always pray grace together before tucking in. Families also have access to a doctor once a week for free check-ups.

When the dining hall was closed for the pandemic, the site staff quickly pivoted. They arranged “popular pots,” in which groups of volunteers gathered at the hall kitchen to prepare large batches of meals. These cooking gatherings maintained strict hygiene protocols and social distancing. The volunteers then distributed the meals out into the community, delivering 1500 meals per week.

The Dominica site needs $16,000 to continue their daily lunch program for another year.  This not only provides a daily meal for 140 people for 12 months of the year, but also opportunities for trainingin food handling, handwashing and oral hygiene. 

Funding Request: $16,000

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Please note that any donations that exceed the request will be used to fund other nutrition programs in need of funding. 

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