A young man smiles as he receives a hot meal, a drink and literature from a group of volunteers and staff members from  Union Radio, an Adventist operated radio station in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The initiative came about during an evening meal discussion among colleagues on how to impact their city based on discussions on a weekly radio program geared toward young professionals. More than 300 meals were distributed Dec. 18, 2023. [Photo: Union Radio]

February 9, 2023 | Guatemala City, Guatemala | Union Radio and Inter-American Division News

What began as a conversation among friends and work colleagues one recent evening soon turned into an initiative that mobilized volunteers to feed hundreds of homeless people in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

As a producer of a program for young professionals on Union Radio—an Adventist operated station that covers 90 percent of Guatemala – Gabriela Coronado wanted to close the weekly program she produces with an impactful final activity.  Since 2019, the program, coined as Followers 2.2 had been motivating young people to follow Jesus even amid the personal and social problems they face every week.

Volunteers pass out packaged hot meals at the Paseo La Sexta Park during the initiative. [Photo: Union Radio]

“During our dinner out as a team, one colleague suggested we distribute a hot meal,” said Coronado. “It was as if God was giving us the idea as a dessert.” As soon as they shared the project idea with other work colleague, church members, and faithful listeners, food and monetary donations began to be dropped off to kick start the initiative.  Municipal leaders and police officers were contacted for the initiative.  Soon more than 30 volunteers showed up and the team decided to distribute the meals at Paseo La Sexta Park.

According to the Guatemala Institute of Statistics (INE), there were more than 1,000 persons living on the streets in Guatemala City, in 2020.

A hot meal was given to two women during the feeding initiative in parts of Guatemala City, Guatemala.[Photo: Union Radio]

The group of volunteers assembled fresh tamales, bread and juice drinks and distributed hot meals and gave out literature to more than 300 persons. Some were dropped off next to individuals who were sleeping on the ground or seated at streets, corners and alleys.

“We saw evidence of what the radio station has seen year after year in each project and initiative, that God is in control and guides and gives us opportunities to help others,” Coronado said.

A couple smiles after receiving a meal and some books in Guatemala City. [Photo: Union Radio]

“Today I’ve enjoyed being part of this initiative,” said Frank Onel Juárez, a young volunteer. “Something that stuck in my mind was when a young man about 20 years old kept staring at me after I handed him a plate of food, like he couldn’t believe it. That was a wonderful experience.”

For Evelin Yasmin Milían, the experience taught her some life lessons. “We sometimes think that we can’t do things like this, but we must make the effort to learn to share with other persons in need,” she said. “This has been such a beautiful experience and I’m so very happy to have shared my time reaching so many people.”

The group of Union Radio staff, listeners and church members who volunteered during the initiative. [Photo: Union Radio]

The end of Followers 2.2 brought forth a new weekly program for young people mostly for non-believers on relevant topics or taboo issues discussed from a Christian worldview, Union Radio leaders said.

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