During this Lenten season please take a Lenten Box and begin your Lenten journey thinking of others. In addition to high school and post high school scholarships for upwards of 36 individuals, our funds will also be used to provide clean water to 40 families in and around the area of Ellacuria.
Not only are we expressing our solidarity and willingness to share with the people of El Salvador though our contribution, but we are providing essential help in the development of the people of El Salvador. In the last few months, we have been made aware of the immigration issue and the link between poverty and violence and the number of families looking for asylum in the United States. Many families from Central America (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala) are looking for asylum in the United States. In most cases these families are trying to escape both poverty and violence…and experiencing unfortunate hardship at the US borders. Poverty and lack of educational opportunities are intimately linked… and too often the reason why many families are looking for asylum in the US. It is also worth noting that foreign aid provided in the last few years to countries of Central America has been reduced and, in some cases, totally eliminated.
Our contribution of the last few years has been used in large part for providing support for high school education (19 students) and University education (17 students). In both cases, transportation, books and lodging are all required but is not affordable by the majority of people living in Ellacuria or the surrounding communities. Without our help many kids would not be able to obtain an education. For many, education is the only way of escaping poverty and making an important contribution to the development of El Salvador.
Our Lenten donations in 2018 also helped support the Clean Water Program which gave 58 families clean water and improved health by providing water filters for their homes. A previous generation of filters would take 5 hours to filter 3 gallons of water. The new filters the CIS program provides, take about 10 minutes to filter 3 gallons of water. The filters cost about $75 per family.
The CIS Clean Water Program provides awareness about the effects of contaminated water, distributes educational and conscious-raising materials on how to avoid ingesting contaminated water, holds educational workshops about why the filters are important to filter amoebas, bacteria and parasites to improve health, as well as instruction on how to use the filters in their homes. The Clean Water Program for 2019 needs funding for filters for 40 families, benefiting approximately 500 people with clean water for 10 years.
What can we do? It comes back to very simple actions we can take… giving up a dinner in a restaurant, a movie or a Starbucks coffee. Each one of us can make a difference, and every time we do one of these simple actions, let us think of the people at the US border looking for asylum and experiencing hardships because they are escaping poverty.
The little box should remind each one of us during Lent that we are in solidarity with the people of Ellacuria and with all the people trying to escape poverty and violence.
– Outreach Ministry