Epicenter Solutions, a charitable outreach of Calvary Chapel Southbury, recently completed a temporary emergency food distribution program that was begun in January in response to unusually severe food shortages in Malawi. Chronic malnutrition is a way of life in rural villages there, but this year, lack of rain and rising food prices caused a crisis.
Towards the end of 2011, most areas of Malawi received suppressed rainfall amounts with very few rainy days. As a result of soil moisture, stress crops started wilting, especially over some parts of the southern half of Malawi, and farmers were forced to suspend planting. The seasonal rainfall performance was poor and erratic, resulting in poor crop establishment. The area where Epicenter works is comprised of subsistence farmers, who live on what food they grow. At least 12,000 families were affected, mainly in the Lower Shire region.
To make matters worse, the price of corn (which is the staple food of their diet) has tripled since 2007, making it out of reach for a community where the average person lives on less than one US dollar per day.
In order to bring some relief, Epicenter started providing 252 families with 22 lbs. of corn and 10 lbs. of beans per month to supplement whatever they were able to gather on their own. Over time, the number of families they were providing for grew significantly. Because of the infrastructure that they already have in place there with feeding centers for orphaned children and Malawian pastors that help run the centers, they were able to distribute the food in an efficient way. The African ISend pastors helped identify the most vulnerable people in the villages that they work in to make sure that the people who needed the food most were the first to get it. Also, the feeding centers that they have established to feed orphans and widows daily were used as bases to distribute the bags of food from.
As the rainy season continued, rainfall amounts began to pick up and the emergency program was no longer needed; therefore, it was replaced with a seed distribution. These distributions were a blessing to people who may have starved or been severely malnourished without them. Epicenter Solutions wants to thank everyone who helped them with this important work.