Last Updated: 19/01/2021

For the last two months the number of active COVID-19 cases in Guatemala has hovered around 7,000. As of Jan. 1, the total number of related deaths was 4,813. Theaters, bars, gyms, national parks, churches and some tourist sites have reopened. Limits on attendance and other restrictive measures are in place in areas where COVID-19 continues to spread, including Guatemala City and most other cities. All individuals must wear masks in public spaces. Hurricanes Eta and Iota increased suffering by causing floods; destruction of roads, cropland and buildings; missing persons and deaths.

Compassion child development centers have suspended in-person classes and activities as well as home visits. Volunteer tutors reach out virtually to each child every week to pray with them, and they report back to the staff any family concerns or needs. They have also distributed art kits and children’s magazines. Frontline church partners have delivered 476,000 food packs and 172,000 hygiene kits to children and their families. Additionally, they have facilitated medical support for 8,000 individuals.

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Guatemala?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Guatemala, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

At this point, all centers in Guatemala are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are still calling and checking in on families. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 476,000 food packs and 172,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

The majority of letters are delayed in Guatemala, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Guatemala, although they are currently delayed. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

Compassion's church partners began delivering food baskets to families soon after the countrywide quarantine in Guatemala began making it hard for people to find work or buy groceries. And for many families, those baskets contained loaves of freshly baked bread made by youth enrolled in baking classes at their Compassion centers.

“Teenagers who live close to the center spoke to me with the desire to support the families and asked me if they could bake bread and give it away for free,” says Melvia, director of the Nueva Vida (New Life) Student Center. “I agreed, with the condition that every child who participates wears their face mask and cleans themselves before making bread, to prevent infection.”

The young people worked in small teams of three to obey social-distancing guidelines. “I am doing what I can to support other children with this delicious bread,” says 16-year-old William. “We learned in the center to support others, so we are doing it as we make this bread.”.

Single mother Rosa and her two young daughters, Marjorie and Elena, were grateful recipients of the teenagers’ baking efforts. “The bread was still warm and it smelled delicious when the center delivered it to me,” Rosa said. “I am proud of the teenagers who are making this possible because I see my two girls in the future as them, supporting others. Today, we need the support, but tomorrow my two daughters will help others as those teenagers are doing.”

How can I pray for Guatemala?

Pray that God will strengthen and provide for families who are rebuilding their lives after recent hurricanes devastated their homes

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