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August 2022, FRONTLINES

Delivering Hope in Mexico

Every year, at the beginning of May, people across the US, regardless of their nationality, celebrate the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo. For most Americans, it is an opportunity to gather with others and eat Mexican food. And why wouldn’t you? Mexican food is amazing! In fact, UNESCO declared Mexican food an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind”, a prestigious culinary designation that has only been bestowed upon one other country: France.

But outside the city of Puebla, Mexico—where the Mexican Army defeated the French on May 5, 1862—most Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. One of Mexico’s most celebrated holidays is actually Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and tourists from around the world travel to Mexico to experience the various festivities. With its amazing food, elaborate celebrations, rich traditions, archaeological sites, and beautiful beaches, Mexico is actually Latin America’s most visited tourist destination. In fact, Mexico falls in the top ten most popular countries to visit in the world.

But despite the revenue brought in by the tourism industry and Mexico’s quick recovery following the global lockdown, the county’s wealth is very unevenly distributed. Luxury apartment buildings and gated communities sit one street over from low-income slums, oftentimes separated by walls.

In 2020, an additional 3.8 million Mexicans fell into poverty during the pandemic, raising the poverty rate to almost 44% of the population. Nearly 11 million of Mexico’s 126 million people are living in extreme poverty. Things look much worse for children. It is estimated that half of the children in Mexico are living in poverty. Many of them are forced to work in poor conditions, while sacrificing their education and ability to get decent employment in the future.

Children’s Hunger Fund began serving churches in Mexico City in 2010. Mexico City is the largest city in all of Latin America and the fifth largest in the world. The slums are heavily populated, and crime and drugs are rampant, which has made ministry difficult in the past. Drug lords have influence over areas of government and police, but several of our church partners have been able to gain favor with them and continue to serve those in need within those neighborhoods.

Thanks to a relationship with a local vendor, our church partners have been able to purchase food at a discounted price, using funding provided by Children’s Hunger Fund and our generous donors. This relationship has been a tremendous blessing, as inflation and shortages have made it increasingly difficult to obtain resources. We thank God for the team of pastors and church volunteers in our Mexico Mercy Network dedicated to delivering hope in Mexico.

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