Church donation helping to feed those in dire need in southwest Colombia

A barrage of ongoing challenges —  food and water shortages, civil unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic — is exacting a heavy toll across several remote communities in southwestern Colombia. 

But local priesthood and Relief Society leaders in the area say the Lord knows His people, and He is lifting their temporal burdens through His Church.

“I know the Savior is aware of their trials, and He is accompanying us in our efforts to help,” Popayan Colombia District President Jorge Zambrano told the Church News.

The Church recently donated more than 400 food kits to families in dire need from the Patía, Cauca, region of Colombia. President Zambrano and other Latter-day Saints partnered with local government leaders to facilitate the distribution.

The food kits were delivered during a formal ceremony at an outdoor venue in late April. Cauca Department First Lady Deisy Caracas Vásquez, who helps manage social and humanitarian relief affairs in the region, joined President Zambrano and other local Church leaders at the ceremony.

Also participating was Patía Mayor Orlando Muñoz, who thanked the Church and its members for the much-needed food donation.

Each food kit contained non-perishable provisions such as rice, oil, canned goods, beans and other items commonly consumed in western Colombia.

“People in this region have really been struggling after recent flooding,” said President Zambrano. “There are great challenges in this area under normal circumstances, but those challenges have been magnified because of the ongoing pandemic and the flooding.”

In a Colombia Newsroom story, Patía resident Inés Nayatil called the gift “a blessing from God,” adding “I’m providing for my family while also caring for my mother, who is disabled. These items are greatly needed.”

Food kit recipient Carlos Alberto Caicedo said the donation is a temporal demonstration of Christ’s love.

The Church is small in the greater Patía region, said President Zambrano. Only a few Latter-day Saint families call the area home. There is no meetinghouse, but a few men are priesthood holders and provide spiritual support to the small collection of members.

“This food kit project has helped me feel the Savior’s love,” said President Zambrano. “The Lord knows the faces of His people who are in need.”