Small Gestures of Hope: Cash Cards Make a Difference for Families During COVID-19

Others, COVID-19 , Hunger

Contributed by: World Renew

Aminta Ipuana’s family is one of many Venezuelan families living in Colombia after fleeing the conflict and instability in their home country. In addition to navigating the challenges of life in a new country, she and her family members must now navigate the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With this pandemic neither my husband nor my eldest son have been able to go out and work, or to get anything to eat,” she said.

World Renew, in partnership with ZOA, and with matched funds from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, is reaching out to help families like Aminta’s by providing them with cash cards that can be used to purchase food from local markets.

Since these cards hold cash electronically, no physical distributions are necessary, which allows this essential assistance to continue in the time of COVID-19. What’s more, these cards are providing an economic boost to local vendors in a difficult economic climate.

At first, Aminta worried that this assistance might be too good to be true.

“The day they gave me the card in my house and the map, which showed me which stores I could go and buy food from, [then] I started to think it was true,” she said.

Even so, on Aminta’s first visit she immediately traded her whole balance of $252,500 Colombian pesos (approximately $101 CAD) for food, just in case the system somehow fell through. It was not until she held the actual food in her hands that she let herself joyfully accept that this assistance was real and trustworthy.

Today, Aminta knows that she does not have to spend all of the money on her card at once and she looks forward to going to the market every two weeks to get necessities for her family.

The small gesture of sharing a cash card can mean a world of difference to those like Aminta who, displaced by conflict and instability, must now face the added burden of COVID-19. Aminta is thankful to all those who made this support possible ㅡ she describes them as “angels who appeared at this time to help us.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Aminta holding her cash card while purchasing food

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