Stories of Change

A woman receives a package of supplies during the May distribution in Guayaquil. Photo courtesy Fundacion Paz y Esperanza Ecuador

Food & Hygiene Supplies for 200 Families in Ecuador

Ecuador is among the hardest hit nations in Latin America during this pandemic. Its largest city, Guayaquil, has been particularly affected.

As of May 8, the Ecuadoran government reported over 30,000 cases of coronavirus, nearly 9,000 of which were in Guayaquil. Official statistics vary, but one estimate says that 1,654 people have died. On May 7, the mayor of Guayaquil reported that one third of the city’s 2.7 million residents has or has had the coronavirus.

The virus, and the resulting lockdowns and protective measures, are taking a toll. The prices of essential food and hygiene items are rising, especially for poorer families in cities. Food shortages are now being reported.

On top of everything else, Ecuador hosts roughly 360,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Venezuelans have been fleeing the crisis in their country in huge numbers since 2014. Most of the Venezuelans living in Ecuador rely on the informal economy to survive, feed their families and pay rent. They work as street vendors, domestic workers and unregistered workers. Before coronavirus, they were starting to experience rising levels of stigma and discrimination. The pandemic has aggravated the situation.

Our team in the region continues to look for ways to support Venezuelans who have fled to other countries. In response to the growing needs in Guayaquil, we’ve teamed up with a local organization called Fundacion Paz y Esperanza Ecuador to distribute food and supplies to particularly vulnerable families.

Between now and July, we’re going to provide food and hygiene supplies to 200 families. Most will be Venezuelan migrant families living in slums or low-income neighborhoods in Guayaquil. The remaining families will be other particularly vulnerable households in the most affected neighborhoods, including single mothers. Government aid to these families either hasn’t been enough to help them through the challenges they have faced or hasn’t been able to reach them.

Once a month, families will receive a food assistance basket and a package of hygiene supplies. Local volunteers are assembling the hygiene packages in Guayaquil. Each monthly delivery costs $20.

To learn more about the CWS Coronavirus Response Fund, which includes this program in Ecuador, visit