Convoy of Hope program centers aren’t staunch, sad cafeterias. They are happy, vibrant places that intentionally build community and address the unique needs of each group of people they serve.
Convoy’s Children’s Feeding centers in Nicaragua are a perfect example of this. Recently, more than 80 children, teachers, and community leaders held a food fair to see who could create the most delicious dish based on the food Convoy of Hope provides for them.
Culturally Appropriate Meals
A big focus for Convoy is providing people with food that can be easily incorporated into their existing diets. For schools in Nicaragua, Convoy usually provides soup mixes (which contain ingredients like rice, vegetables, and soy) and dried peaches provided by Gleanings for the Hungry, one of Convoy’s partners. Convoy also sends soy powder and rice, which make excellent bases for many different kinds of dishes.
Alone, these ingredients would provide a meal that was nutritious. But Convoy teaches the people running the programs how to use local produce and recipes to enhance meals and make them more familiar to those eating them.
Take Nicaragua. Pineapples are one of the main crops there because of the rich, volcanic soil. So the cooks take the pineapple, combine it with dried peaches, and make a tasty peach puree.
The versatility of the food Convoy provides was the basis of the food fair. Every group took their favorite customized dishes and pitted them against the others to see which dish stood above the rest.
With the peaches, some groups made jams, jellies, crepes, ice cream, or juices. Soy and beans were incorporated into many of the dishes. One favorite was a Nicaraguan tamale made with several of the ingredients that Convoy provided. In fact, there were so many recipes, that Convoy of Hope Nicaragua created a cookbook with all the different recipes.
The food fair itself was held in a beautiful courtyard. Children from the local schools performed skits while their parents proudly filmed them with their phones. This wasn’t just a school event — it was an event for the whole community.
And community is at the heart of everything Convoy does. Since it was established, Convoy’s goal has been to help communities escape the cycle of poverty and begin to thrive. Convoy sees its participants as individuals that must be understood and addressed holistically. This means addressing the cultural, physical, emotional, and economic needs of those at each program center.
Convoy of Hope’s mission is always to help a community thrive and become more resilient. Through partners like Gleanings of the Hungry and you, Convoy is advancing that mission one community at a time.
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