MST Solidarity Hands Campaign receives UN Pact Against Hunger award

Project started during the pandemic, delivered more than 1.6 million lunch boxes in the last three years in Pernambuco
Paulo Mansan, from MST, receives an award this Thursday (26), in São Paulo. Photo: Priscila Ramos/MST

From the MST Page

This Thursday (10/26), the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) received the Pact Against Hunger award, given by the United Nations (UN) on behalf of the Solidarity Hands initiative, a food donation campaign created during the pandemic, in Recife (PE).

The award is organized by two UN agencies: for Education, Science and Culture (Unesco) and for Food and Agriculture (FAO). And the ceremony was held in São Paulo (SP), with the award given to Paulo Mansan, one of the creators of the action and member of the MST national coordination, alongside Fabíola Amaro, member of the MST and project coordinator.

The actions benefited vulnerable families in cities, including Recife, Olinda, Caruaru, Garanhuns, Vitória de Santo Antão, Petrolina, among others. In the Metropolitan region of Recife alone, Solidarity Hands delivered around 1.6 million lunch boxes in the last three years.

The actions, primarily serving homeless families, began in the first week of the shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Little by little, dozens of lunch boxes became thousands, thanks to the daily work carried out by activists and volunteers.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, with the lockdown here in Pernambuco, inside Armazém do Campo in Recife, we created something called Solidarity Lunchbox, which we could say was the beginning of everything. We even risk saying that it was the beginning of all the solidarity actions during this pandemic period in Brazil, not only from the MST, but from several other organizations”, stated the leader.

Solidarity Hands Action at the Warehouse in Campo Recife-PE. Photo: MST-PE

National Solidarity Kitchens Program

Little by little, the initiative advanced in the creation of solidarity kitchens, food banks, community gardens, living pharmacies, among other actions to combat hunger and coronavirus; where more than 1500 Peoples Health Agents were trained in peripheral urban and rural communities.

After the pandemic, campaign activities continued to structure the popular organization to combat hunger and food insecurity.

This year, the Solidarity Hands kitchens initiative became public policy, with the creation of the National Solidarity Kitchens Plan, which was integrated into the Food Acquisition Program (PAA) in July.

Last week, during the celebration of PAA’s 20th anniversary, funding was released for the Solidarity Kitchens Program, where R$30 million was allocated to support experiences at the national level.

“We learned with great joy that the Solidarity Kitchens became law, due to the initiative of federal deputy Guilherme Boulos. In this process we made many changes; we helped with the MTST kitchens here in Pernambuco. They have two [in Pernambuco], so everyone helps one another. It is a great solidarity effort and the PAA law will enhance this”, explains Mansan.

Despite the release of funds, the program has not yet been officially launched.

“The expectation is that we will launch this program very soon. In the PAA for Kitchens, there is even an indication that it may start at the beginning of November 2023.” – says Paulo about expectations for the start of the program.