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Marmitas do Bem and ABMTHS: Feeding lives and hope

The story we're telling now began in 2020 during the pandemic as a small social action project: Marmitas do Bem. Since then, the project has grown and last year it became an association.

With the initial aim of reducing the food insecurity of hundreds of families in Vila Dique, in São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, by distributing lunch boxes and milk, the organization has greatly increased its work with families living in extreme poverty.

But it was only after the torrential rains in May of this year, which devastated several cities in Rio Grande do Sul, that it was possible to see the full potential of the voluntary work of this association, which made new connections, recalculated its aid route and has been bringing much more than lunchboxes to needy families.

Because of the environmental catastrophe, which left several towns in Rio Grande do Sul under water for weeks, houses, cars, pets and many lives were lost.

Those who survived but lost their homes have been put up in shelters, or have stayed with friends and family who weren't affected. Now that the rain has passed, all that remains for everyone is to start life anew!

Abmths was invited to join the Marmitas do Bem Association by Joanna Sieh Hendrich, who lives in Novo Hamburgo and has been taking part in the organization's social activities with her daughter Julia since last year.

"If before all this tragedy happened, the families were already queuing up to get the lunch boxes and milk that were donated, imagine now! They need everything and for us, who are blessed with so much, helping is almost an obligation. I make sure Julia takes part, that's how solidarity is born in our children"

Joanna Sieh Heidrich

In this partnership, ABMTHS was concerned with donating more than food to the families and along with 3,200 kg of rice, bibles and rosaries were also donated to those who are Catholic, to nourish the spirit of these very fragile people, so that they don't lose faith!

Now that the families are starting to return to Vila Dique to rebuild what they have lost, ABMTHS is preparing another donation, this time of double mattresses and kits with sheets, pillowcases and comforters.

And in this almost "post-war" scenario, it is already possible to see hope again in the eyes of adults and children.

A lot still needs to be done, but without the thousands of donations from the Brazilian people, the tireless work of NGOs and humanitarian aid institutions, and especially without volunteers willing to donate their time, work and love to these families, it wouldn't be possible to start again.

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