Vancouver Island Rotary Clubs Provide food Relief for Mayan Communities in Guatemala in collaboration with Disaster Aid Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Members of the Rotary Mid Island Group (Ladysmith, Chemainus, Nanaimo) informed Disaster Aid Canada (DAC) in April 2020 that people are under a strict lock-down and on the verge of starvation in Guatemala. There are dire food, hygiene and PPE needs including masks. Workers have no jobs, there is no social safety net and the communities including markets are under complete lock-down. These Rotary Clubs have been involved in sustainable development projects in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala for several years.
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DAC supplemented an emergency District Grant applied for by Don Mercer of the Rotary Club of Ladysmith with another $1,000.00 to provide immediate relief. Members of the Chemainus Club were using personal funds to help people survive.
We received the latest updates from Lake Atitlan and the story is grim. People are locked down and starvation is impacting the poor, weak and elderly. They may survive the pandemic but could starve to death instead. 
Due to the impact of COVID-19 in Central America there is an urgent need for food, soap and personal protective equipment for the marginalized Mayan villagers living in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala, particularly in San Lucas Toliman and San Antonio Palopo and most recently San Antonio Aguas Calientes.
Working together the Disaster Aid International members have raised over $13,000.00 to provide emergency food support for the Villagers, hopefully we will be able to continue to help these communities with more food soon through your donations.
The funds raised by this special appeal will be distributed by Disaster Aid Canada with the assistance of Canadian Rotary Clubs and the Mayan Women’s Groups with whom the Rotary Clubs have collaborated for years in local projects.
Latest Update from Jacquiline Mealing - June 16, 2020
The Covid “lockdown” stops the spread but creates severe famine
After three months in lockdown the Mayan villages are mostly safe from the virus but suffering serious famine. No one is allowed out of their house except for essential services resulting in no money, no food, and emotionally fraught severely undernourished children in families.
For the first time young boys are now permitted to go out with dad to search for cooking wood in the forest, a welcome break. We provided a propane tank refill for 25 women last week and best of all, 300 families (550 in total) are now regularly receiving essential food and nutritional supplement. For this essential service, we are grateful to Disaster Aid Canada, Rotary and very generous friends. Families are quietly smiling behind their essential masks. Very severe fines are levied for not wearing a mask or children leaving the house.
Santa, a mother of six, is our lead volunteer. She has converted the lower room of her cement block home to a warehouse and distribution centre for the selected recipients. Each day she excitedly phones or chats with me on WhatsApp, a free phone service and video chat. She sadly describes the plight of the children confined in their tiny homes for over three months with no TV toys or interaction with playmates.
Volunteer mothers have joined in with packaging the goods. We order food by the truckload for this town of 9000 inhabitants. Their only crop are terraces of green onions for business that are now locked down.
The town mayor lives elsewhere, and only arrives every few weeks to supervise spraying the homes with chemicals. You my friends, are the only ones offering basic food and emotional support to this town.
It is easy to help with food or items for the kids by contacting Disaster Aid Canada or donate now at
Disaster Aid Canada has created an Online Presentation for Rotary Clubs who are looking for Speakers for their Club Meetings. Contact