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Meals for Miguel

Forever Changed International

By Pablo Villagran-

To show the kind of impact a mission trip to Guatemala can make, consider “Meals for Miguel,” set up by college students from Alabama after they came here last Christmas season.

The group raised more than $600, which they sent to Dorie’s Promise recently to help us buy food.

Meals for Miguel originated with young people from Destiny Christian Center in Prattville, Alabama. In addition to their efforts, students from Prattville Christian Academy donated a large amount to the fund-raiser.

During their visit, the young members of Destiny Christian Center distributed food and clothing inside the garbage dump in Guatemala City.

“Our guide for the day was a boy named Miguel,” says Noah Crossfield, who organized the project. “He is the same age (18) as I am, which resonated with me. Miguel told us about his life and how he worked about 12 hours a day to help feed his family, which has five children.

“Then he told us the most shocking part: He only earned about 50 cents per day. I was blown away by this. I did the math and figured that equaled about five Ritz crackers a day for each family member.”

Taking inspiration from other, similar initiatives, Noah suggested students from the church “swap places” with the poorest people in Guatemala for a day.

They would only eat five Ritz crackers, then take the money they would have spent on food that day and send it to Guatemala. For instance, if someone normally spent $10 on lunch they would skip it so they could donate that money to Dorie’s Promise, says Noah, a freshman at Auburn University.

“It was a great experience,” he says. “It really put into perspective how much my giving can mean. When I know that one dollar given to Guatemala can buy two pounds of corn meal to make tortillas, it makes it seem like my gift does something really awesome.”

Anna Davis, another volunteer, also saw what the difference small gifts can make in the lives of the needy. She says the cost of a typical fast-food combo meal can go exponentially further in Guatemala—and besides, American students would benefit from skipping a burger and fries.

 “We can give a tremendous amount of support without really affecting our daily lives, says Davis, a freshman at the University of Alabama. “The lack of basic necessities in Guatemala is obvious and disheartening, but I had never realized how easy it is to help ease some of the strain. “Meals for Miguel showed me that we have no excuse to deny aid.”

In working on this project, Noah learned that the exchange rate means every dollar given in the U.S. equals about two dollars of food in Guatemala. Food bags costing $12 can feed a small family for a month, he says.

“I discovered that we actually raised enough money to buy food for a family for the four years that I’ll be in college,” he says. “That fact by itself made it totally worth it.”

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