The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

Starting with mom: Jennifer and Jefferson’s story

Starting with mom: Jennifer and Jefferson’s story

“For nothing is impossible with God.” — Luke 1:37

Jefferson was born early — a preemie weighing less than four pounds. He lives in a rural Salvadoran community that is highly vulnerable to food insecurity. Though the odds have been stacked against him from the start, here’s the incredible truth:

Jefferson has never known hunger.

Jefferson as a baby playing with toys

But first, let’s back up.

Meet Jefferson’s mom, Jennifer

Jennifer was born and raised in the El Recreo community in eastern El Salvador. Her family has always lived in El Recreo, and she shares a home with her grandmother, two uncles, a sister, a cousin (and her twins!) — and, of course, Jefferson.

Jennifer holding Jefferson

El Recreo is remote — very remote. In fact, it is a 2.5-hour walk just to get to nearest main access road. Transportation into town is expensive and time-consuming, making formal employment in short supply.

The family works hard to support themselves with the work they can find. Jennifer's uncle breaks stones in a nearby quarry. Her grandmother receives financial help from two of her sons who live in another city and work as masons. And Jennifer picks up as many odd jobs as she can.

Jennifer with Jefferson and other kids

"I work washing other people's clothes, running errands for my neighbors who pay me to go into town and buy their things, so there are several sources of income that help me defray the expenses of the child," she said.

"When I run errands for my neighbors, I get up at 5 a.m. because at 6:30 a.m., I have to be ready to wait for the truck that leaves my community. It takes me an hour to get to town, two hours to do the shopping and errands, and by noon I'm back," she said.

Despite their hard work, family expenses are tight. Between milk, diapers and other hygiene items, Jennifer estimates that Jefferson’s expenses take nearly half of the family’s income.

A little help

Like so many moms, Jennifer wanted her baby to have the healthiest start possible. When she was pregnant, Jennifer’s cousin told her about a local program with FMSC partner SAHF/FUSAL.

"My cousin [told] me that she would enroll her twins in the program, but I thought I would wait until [Jefferson] was born ... [My cousin] explained that pregnant women attended the program too, and they could teach me how to take care of myself and my baby at that stage, so I decided to go. That same afternoon, I went to sign up.”

Because transportation is so expensive, regular prenatal checkups were out of reach for Jennifer. But when she joined the program, SAHF/FUSAL provided consistent home health visits to support her prenatal care.

The program also provided Jennifer with FMSC food. Receiving the meals allowed Jennifer and her family to focus some of their income on other expenses — moreover, MannaPack® meals gave Jennifer crucial, dependable nutrition to support a healthy pregnancy. And when Jefferson was born early, she was able to produce nutrient-dense breastmilk for her baby.

Jefferson eating FMSC food

“It helps us a lot because sometimes there is nothing else to eat,” Jennifer said. “That is why this food is vital. Thank you for the help you send us as parents.”

Now, Jefferson is weaned and eating MannaPack® meals himself. This kid is doing great.

Jefferson playing on the ground

Hope for a new generation

FMSC food has supported Jefferson with essential nutrition at the most vulnerable stages of his life: as a growing toddler, as a premature baby — and even before he was born. Despite the challenges of poverty, he has never known hunger.

When you give to FMSC, this is the work you’re supporting. The meals you fund equip partners like SAHF/FUSAL to work within communities, as a part of the communities, and take the steps that will transform generations.

Poverty is complicated, but hunger is fixable — one reliable meal at a time.

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