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Cooking in Solidarity

by Rev. Tanya Rosado | May 2024 | Heartbeat, HB Argentina, HB Latin America

Argentina is in the midst of a deteriorating economic situation. Inflation rose more than 175% this past year. Currently, more than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. Many families are experiencing increased food insecurity as their wages are no longer enough to cover basic dietary needs. Cheaper, less nutritious food is available, but this food is contributing to the estimated 4 million children lacking a healthy diet. Many people depended on a daily meal from local soup kitchens. However, due to the economic crises and new government, many soup kitchens have been closed, and people increasingly find themselves without options.

Seeing this reality, the Cas de Paz (House of Peace) leaders Alicia and Tino in Mercedes, Uruguay, decided they needed to do something. Having many connections in the community, they received permission to use a neighborhood community center on Saturday mornings. Each Saturday, members from eight families plus several volunteers come together to cook nutritious meals. When the cooking is complete, they take the meals home to their families to cover the main meal for three days.

In addition, the Cocina Solidaria (Solidarity Kitchen) has received a small plot of land for a community garden. There, they plan to grow vegetables to cook with and teach the community how to have personal gardens. In February, only the second month in operation, more than 40 people benefited from the Cocina Solidaria! The garden is being established so the first seeds can be planted. Seeing a small Casa de Paz providing for physical needs in the community is exciting!

However, this project is bringing even deeper transformation. Young adults ages 18-21 who can’t find work are cooking on Saturdays. Where they had felt a burden to their families, they can now contribute. As the community comes together to cook, they help each other with other issues. A young mom was having trouble enrolling her daughter in school and mentioned it in the kitchen. A local school psychologist was part of the cooking team. The connection made between the mom and the school psychologist resulted in this young girl being able to attend school. Through relationship in the kitchen, the community is starting to ask questions about why the program was started and six people have started attending the Casa de Paz!

Tanya Rosado is a missionary to Latin America and Coordinator of Latin America’s team Empowering Holistic Transformation.