Nosara, COVID-19

Food bank, an alternative to sustain the community of Nosara during the coronavirus crisis

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Jo Ellen Nott y Seidy Juárez wake up early to focus on raising funds to distribute food packages. The phone calls haven’t stop after the Nosara Food Bank announced that was going to help those who now are jobless due to the Covid-19 crisis. Since then their lives are almost like a battle against time.

In March, Nosara changed. The virus caused the closure of borders and beaches which led, like a domino effect, to force a temporary shutdown of restaurants and hotels in one of the districts of Nicoya that most sustains with tourism.    

Till today, the initiative of Nosara Food Bank received over 1.400 help solicitous. Also, 40 other people have offered their services as volunteers to join both women in their management. 

The organization has a call center group of 10 volunteers (2682-1073). It also has a committee providing its vehicles to distribute the packages and another one in charge of making the initiative well-known around the poorest communities of Nosara.

“The community has responded with an incredible solidarity,” says Nott. 

Their solidarity is reflected in the number of donations. Until now, the Food Bank has received over $40,000 from 141 donors. The money is used to buy the food for the packages and the gas to do home deliveries. At this moment, they have spent 50% of it.

Nott and Juarez’s goal is to reach the $75,000.

“We are going to give packages till we round out of money,” Nott emphasizes, 

The Food Bank started its operations in 2013. They started giving small packages to five families at risk from Nosara. Over time, the number of families increased and, by March of the present year, they distributed to 50 families.

According to the organizer, the funds for the packages are from the community permanent donation campaign, especially the foreigners.  

“Cities like Nosara expose the enormous social gap. The fact that foreigners give economic support is part of historical debt,” affirms Nott.  

The Food Bank is a combination of both worlds from the district. Jo Ellen Nott is a 64-year-old retired North American teacher who has lived in Nosara for a few years now. And on the other side, Seidy Juarez, 54, is local and has been a community leader for over a decade.  

Juarez also manages the food purchase; however, this activity has also changed. While years ago, the food from the packages was acquired in the regional food bank in Brasilito, now, they visit the local supermarkets. As a result of the COVID -19 crisis, the regional food bank prioritizes other organizations whose focus is senior citizens, palliative care, and residents in situations of abandonment.

Nott and Juarez represent the necessities of each community in the organization. Nott says that in a moment like this, the diversity of voices is necessary. Nott has an impact on raising money between the foreigners, while Juarez recognizes the most needed communities.   

Ethel Araya and Marita Caillaux are now part of the directive board. They manage the call center and part of the internal organization.

How to request this help?

The Food Bank gives food vouchers to the residents that live between Ostional and Barco Quebrado and whose working hours were reduced or fired as a result of the pandemic. The informal workers with economic loss because of the restrictions and the isolation measures can also request this help.

The number of packages distributed per family depends on the number of its members. A family with three unemployed adults and an underage will receive four packages. However, if the minor receives food assistance from the Ministerio de Educación (the Department of Education in Costa Rica), the Food Bank will not provide another one.

The packages will be distributed each month for three months at the front door of the families and are prepared to last for approximately 30 days. According to their organizers, this measure is to avoid agglomerations. Nevertheless, conforming to the flow of donations, the organization will assess if they distribute the packages twice a month.

To request the food package, call 2682-1073 or fill the form in this link.

If you want to donate to the Food Bank, click here