How to help vulnerable families in Buenos Aires

As the government slowly lifts coronavirus quarantine restrictions, everyone is bracing for the “new normal,” and with that, an even more damaged economy. But no one will be harder hit than communities that were already struggling amid the country’s existing economic recession. 

Six out of every 10 children and teens in Argentina will be living below the poverty line by the end of 2020, according to fresh United Nations data. That’s up from 53 percent — or more than 5 million children — at the end of 2019.

Like many cities around the world, it’s easy to lead a privileged life in Buenos Aires without truly confronting the inequality and suffering that afflicts millions of Argentine families. But there are many easy ways to step up and help vulnerable families in and around the city without leaving home.

Read on to meet five local nonprofits doing great work to support local families in need and learn how you can directly support their worthy causes.

Convidarte is a volunteer organization that delivers homemade meals to families in need. 

The effort started at the beginning of the coronavirus quarantine when one couple in Recoleta began asking their neighbors to help cook meals for community members living in the streets, Infobae reports.

The grassroots organization has since inspired more than 3,000 neighbors in Buenos Aires to help cook and deliver balanced meals to more than 4,000 vulnerable families. The meals are distributed at more than 25 comedores (community dining rooms) throughout CABA and GBA.

Ways to Help

Cook Nutritious Meals: Once each week, Convidarte volunteers cook and package 25-30 homemade meals. The finished meals are picked up on an assigned day, depending on the volunteer’s neighborhood. Volunteer cooks cover the cost of ingredients and the bandejas (food trays) each week.

Deliver Meals: Neighbors with vehicles and permission to circulate can volunteer to deliver meals to comedores each week. 

Donate Funds: Monetary donations help the organization purchase ingredients and supplies to cook about 1,000 meals in professional kitchens. Financial sponsors can donate funds or bandejas virtually.

Fundación works to promote social inclusion of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

It’s well known within the expat community for accepting gently used clothing for women and children, hygiene products and toys at its Palermo Hollywood headquarters. These goods are then distributed directly to community members living on the streets and at community centers in impoverished regions.

But the nonprofit offers many more social services to vulnerable communities across the country, including:

  • Facilitating educational programs at community centers
  • Helping rural high-school graduates access higher education in low-income areas
  • Supporting communities urgently affected by natural disaster

Ways to Help

Donate Funds: The nonprofit’s website makes it easy to donate pesos to a specific program, once or monthly using an Argentine debit or credit card. Fundación Sí also accepts Argentine bank transfers or international transfers in dollars.

Sponsor Food Donations: Fundación Sí is also accepting donations to purchase food and cleaning supplies that can be distributed to families in need through comedores comunitarias throughout the country.

Donate Essential Items: Follow Fundación Sí on Facebook or Instagram to receive updates on collection days, typically Saturdays and Sundays, at the Palermo Hollywood headquarters.

Volunteer: Fundación Sí volunteers assist in many ways, such as conducting recorridas nocturnas (direct outreach to homeless residents) and assisting operations in the Palermo Hollywood headquarters. Learn about the many volunteer opportunities here.

Fundación Tzedaká

Fundación Tzedkaká works to ensure at-risk Argentinians have the opportunities and support to live dignified lives. 

The organization formed within the local Jewish community in 1991 and takes pride in its holistic approach to combating poverty. This approach aims to help vulnerable community members overcome one of the biggest consequences of poverty — social exclusion — in addition to fulfilling basic needs.

With a robust network of volunteers, donors and professionals, Fundación Tzedkaká offers a variety of social services, including:

  • Ensuring at-risk children and teens complete their educations and confidently enter the workforce
  • Providing food and essentials goods, healthcare, wellness and social integration programs for youth, the elderly and Holocaust survivors
  • Subsidizing rent to ensure access to quality housing

Ways to Help

Donate Funds: Fundación Tzedaká accepts donations from Argentine and international donors. Donations can be sent once or recur monthly.

Donate Disused Items: Clothing, furniture, appliances and more. The foundation can pass anything in good shape that you no longer need to community members in need. Bring donations to the foundation’s Villa Ortuzar headquarters (Av. Chorroarín 1280) from 8:00-13:00 weekdays.

For more than 25 years, La Casa de Ronald McDonald de Argentina has provided compassionate and supportive housing to families who must travel far from home so their children can receive and recover from medical treatments for transplants, cancer or other serious diseases.  

La Casa Ronald has four locations in the country — in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Bahía Blanca. Here in Buenos Aires, Casa Ronald houses the families of children treated in the intensive care unit at Hospital de Pediatría Garrahan.

Ways to Help

Donate Monthly: The nonprofit’s website makes it easy to donate a set number of pesos every month using an Argentine debit or credit card.

Purchase The Food Market’s Caja Indispensable: To help make donating even more enticing, The Food Market is offering a special box full of delicias Argentinas, Iike yerba mate, dulce de leche, artisanal cookies and whole wheat bread. The Food Market donates all profits from these boxes to the La Casa Ronald. Proceeds from each box covers the cost of three nights for one family at Casa Ronald.

Todos Juntos is a grassroots NGO that provides dental care and essential items to children living in villas (slums) in San Martin, a city in the Buenos Aires province.

British expat Fiona Watson founded the organization in 2005 after seeing first-hand the difficult living conditions of a family living in a villa and the tooth decay each family member endured due to malnutrition and sugar consumption.

The organization now runs three nonprofit dental clinics in the area, providing free corrective treatments, dental hygiene education as well as toothbrushes and paste.

Todos Juntos also distributes essential items to the community — including donated clothing, shoes and school supplies — and supplies state-run comedores with food donations.

Ways to Help

Donate Funds: Todos Juntos accepts donations of dollars or euros virtually. Donors can easily send money once or monthly. Just $30 (€25) covers the cost of one complete dental treatment.  

Donate Essential Items: The organization collects shoes, blankets, clothing for children and young adults, and kitchenware all year round. Contact Todos Juntos founder Fiona Watson via Whatsapp (+54 9 11 5496-8873) to schedule a pickup from Greater Buenos Aires. CABA residents are welcome to send goods via local remis or other delivery services, although the current quarantine restrictions may make this too difficult for the time being.

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