We need a food truck to feed hungry people

The short of this story is we’re looking for your charity to get a food truck volunteers will use to bring food volunteers cook to feed hungry people in Yigo. And there are a lot of people and their children who are going hungry.

There’s a tract of Chamorro Land Trust lots down the street from where I live in Yigo. There are a couple semi-concrete homes on those lots, but the rest are makeshift shacks of plywood and tin. Some of these shacks have only three walls. If you look closely, you’ll see small enclosures of sidings made from old political signs and a hose hanging from a jimmied pole on one side. Those are showers. Next to those are toilets.

Skinny children hang around near a playground of abandoned cars and other junk.

About a month ago, one of those CLT residents strolled by my home and asked if he could cut our lawn. “Just pay me $50 and cook me a hot meal, chelu.”

This yard is bigger than half an acre. And the reason he thought to ask was because in several parts of the yard the weeds had grown above two feet. (Side note: I stopped being lazy and have since manicured the lawn)

I agreed and he came by with his wife and two daughters, who stayed in the car while he got his gear down. I was already cooking that hot meal, when I noticed them sitting there. So, my boyfriend and I invited them in. The girls watched Finding Nemo and played with our dogs while quickly devouring half a pot of rice and a can full of sliced fried spam while we waited for the meatloaf. About an hour and a half later, we all sat down to eat, and they went to town again. That family was hungry.

It was a Saturday. For many of us who don’t have this reality in our faces every day, that means there’s no school; which means those girls and thousands like them did not have hot meals to eat.

Ask any public school teacher. You will struggle to find one who does not have a class full of students whose only nutrition for the day will be the free meals the federal government pays to serve to students.

What about their food stamps, you ask? Let’s deconstruct this. Many of these kids come from families so poor, they live in those makeshift homes. Some of them have running water. Many of them don’t. Their sewage system is what Mother Nature has provided. They don’t have electricity. That means they don’t have refrigerators to keep meats and other healthy perishable foods sufficiently cold. If they can’t afford running water, what makes you think they can afford those little butane cans that run burner stoves?

And if little kids are going hungry on weekends and on days schools are out, imagine the rest of their quality of life. Considering all the stupid resolutions senators give out and waste our money and time on, none of them have been given to a group of people truly deserving of recognition. Those are the staff at Machananao Elementary School who prepare the campus to quietly open around 3 a.m. every weekday so that students can shower and brush their teeth.

I spent a couple days after my neighbors left our home thinking what it is I can do to help, realizing that it isn’t just them. The idea occurred to me that once a week a few others and I from Yigo can cook some food at the social hall at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Yigo. We’d use the church’s network to get the word out so anyone who was hungry that day could come eat a delicious hot meal.

Fr. Paul Gofigan

Father Paul Gofigan, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes to whom I took the proposal, loved the idea, too. There was a fundamental problem, though, he said. How are the hungry people going to get to the social hall?

Father Paul (as he is known affectionately), has had this ministry in mind for years now. But Yigo is a big village, with some concentrated shanty towns like the Zero Down and Gill Breeze subdivisions, but also pockets of poverty in the boondocks. He’s been asking for anyone with means to donate a food truck to the church so that the church can organize food drives and volunteers to cook hot meals and deliver them to the hungry.

Do you have a food truck you can donate to Our Lady of Lourdes so we can get this program off the ground? And if you don’t have one, can you make a cash donation to Our Lady of Lourdes so the parish can purchase a food truck or van to make these deliveries?

If you’re wondering why this effort is just for Yigo, allow me to put it this way: Change has to start somewhere. It would be beautiful if we could get 19 food trucks into the hands of feed-the-hungry programs in every village. I just thought I’d start this advocacy where I live and where I see such desperate poverty.

Lena and Dennis Rodriguez with the Todu Guam Foundation know Yigo’s plight in a way that has kept them awake at night pondering what to do after seeing the destitution of the poor in Zero Down and Gill Breeze in Mawar’s wake. After telling Father Paul I’d get the word out about the need for a food truck, I called the Rodriguezes first because I knew about the outreach they did in Yigo following the typhoon, when the starving residents of Zero Down and Gill Breeze were surviving off the meals the American Red Cross were bringing daily, and the bottles of water the Todu Guam Foundation bought up from mom and pop stores.

They’re the ones who educated me about the problems so many of our people face, and how assistance is not getting to the poorest of the poor.

Mark Benito

I asked them to bring us to the Gill Breeze Subdivision earlier this week so we can show you some of the problems, and we were welcomed into the home of Mark Benito and his family. Mr. Benito describes poverty better than I ever could. He struggles through it every day.

Thousands of our people do. They’re hungry. They need food.

P.S.: We found out the “old lady” Mr. Benito mentioned toward the end of our interview with him is Rose Huff. She is a daily parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes and is part of the church’s outreach ministry. Without that food truck, there is only so much Ms. Huff and people like her can do.


  • i feel for you and i hope you get it done for those less fortunate families in the north by the grace of god he has provided and delivered thru you to those in need. Thank you to everyone helping and making adifference.

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