Making the Most of a Container in El Salvador

There are an estimated 832 people per square mile in El Salvador, making it one of the more densely populated countries in Central America (Britannica, 2020). 29.2% of that population lives in poverty (World Bank, 2020). The need is great, and has only increased due to the impact of COVID-19.

In April 2021, Samaritan’s Feet sent a container of shoes, approximately 15,000 pairs, to our partner Food For the Poor to distribute throughout El Salvador. Many groups helped distribute the shoes to those most in need throughout the country.

Check out below who received shoes in beautiful El Salvador:

Disaster Relief Collection Centers
Collection centers were set up by El Salvadorian organization FUSAL to support families who have been greatly affected by COVID-19 and the tropical storms that made landfall in May, June, and November of 2020. Thousands of shoes were distributed and brought comfort to the most vulnerable.

Many of the individuals who received shoes reside in areas served by various social programs, live in vulnerable rural communities, and/or have children younger than five years old.

Health Service Organizations
There are many organizations that provide free healthcare services and assistance to migrants and other populations which cannot afford shoes. These organizations helped distribute shoes to individuals who receive this care. Shoes brought comfort, hygiene, and well-being to hundreds of people who were suffering physically.

International Organization for Migration
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations organization, assists returnees from Mexico and the United States in El Salvador.

IOM centers provide shelter, food, help in communicating with family, and assistance in mental health, financial support, job placement, and items for personal use, to all returning families, unaccompanied children, and adults. The centers also support victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. IOM beneficiaries often return totally dispossessed of their belongings, with only the clothes they are currently wearing. A total of 9,375 pairs of shoes were given to the people that IOM aids.

Early Childhood Development Program
FUSAL has an early childhood development program that aims to provide comprehensive care in nutrition, early childhood stimulation, and healthcare to pregnant women and children under the age of four. Shoes were a part of an incentive package to recruit volunteers for the program launch, and all beneficiaries were happy and grateful for the gift of new shoes.

Local Communities
The San Judas Tadeo Clinic does home visits in the rural communities of La Palma and Villa Palestina. During recent visits, they also distributed shoes and washed the feet of those who received them.

Loli Sangiovanni, an in-country partner representative, said “The people were very grateful for the blessing of this donation…Many of these families are of very limited financial resources.”