So far, Chalice’s COVID-19 disaster fund has distributed nearly $613,000 to families at our sites who have been hit the hardest by the global pandemic. At our Arica site in Chile, $12,453.35 was used to help sponsored children and elders, including non-sponsored elders with chronic medical conditions who were abandoned by their families and are living alone.
In Chile, elders over the age of 75 were prohibited from going outside regularly due to the pandemic, forcing them to make quick outings to higher priced neighborhood convenience stores because they had no one to travel to nearby cheaper supermarkets for them. While elders in Chile do receive a small pension, it is barely enough to survive. Without family support, most seniors live a lonely existence, unable to afford their medications or nutritious food. According to a report by the Ministry of Social Development, the price of a basic food basket rose in October 2019, then again in January, and doubled in April 2020, making it even harder for poor elders and families to make ends meet.
To help those most in need, our site director requested for a small portion of the relief funds be used to help 10 vulnerable elders who were suffering. Our site purchased food baskets filled with non-perishable items large enough to last three months, so that the seniors would only have to purchase a small amount of food in shops. Some of the seniors require Ensure nutritional supplement drinks due to their medical conditions. Ensure is very expensive, so they also received a three-month supply.