The suffering continues in Cuenca: Here are the organizations offering assistance to the poor

Jul 11, 2020 | 7 comments

As the Covid-19 crisis continues to ravage the world, the impact is greatest on the poor population. In Cuenca, that means the Venezuelan and Colombian the refugees, the homeless, the disabled and the sick. Now, more than ever, they need your help.

A volunteer from GRACE helps a family in El Centro.

There are a number of formal and informal efforts underway in Cuenca to feed the hungry during the coronavirus quarantine. Some are established organizations that have provided service for years while others have been organized after the health emergency restrictions were imposed in mid-March.

The groups listed below deliver meals to many of the estimated 10,000 refugees in Cuenca, but also to street vendors, small farmers and disabled who find it difficult to make a living during the health emergency.

Also included Yurak Allpa, an animal rescue and rehabilitation center, and the Cuenca Amaru Biopark Zoo, both struggling to feed their animals.

Please, please help. The city and your fellow human beings need everything you can give!

Cuenca Soup Kitchen

Organized by Cuenca expats, the Soup Kitchen has suspended its cafeteria service due to social distancing restrictions and is delivering meals to dozens of families and individuals in the city as well as in rural areas. It also provides medicine and other essentials.

With the assistance of Cuenca Councilwoman Marisol Peñaloza, the Soup Kitchen delivers 40 food kits a day to remote rural areas in the Cajas mountains, many of them by horseback.

To donate:
By bank deposit: Hearts of Gold JEP Savings account #406079928700, RUC 0190395251002
By PayPal:

For more information:

Paute Soup Kitchen

To help families in Paute and surrounding areas:

To donate:
By PayPal:

Cuenca Expats magazine

Cuenca Expats magazine is postponing its May Governor’s Awards ceremony to focus on raising money to assist those in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

To donate: Go to Cuenca Expats Go-Fund-Me page

For more information: Contact Ed Lindquist at

The Cuenca English Lions Club

The Cuenca English Lions Club is joining the efforts to help those in need. Through partnerships with local charities, the Lions is collecting funds and physical donations to provide food and essential household items to families and individuals suffering during the Covid-19 health emergency. All donations will remain in the Cuenca community. The Cuenca English Lions Club is an officially chartered member of Lions Clubs International, a global organization and is vital part of contributing towards the charitable needs of the Cuenca community.

To donate:
By bank deposit: JEP bank account: Account #406109409401 Account name: Patrick Peregrino/Cuenca English Lions Club
By PayPal: Write LIONS in the comment section. Send as personal transfer.

For more information:

Mujeres con Exito

Mujeres con Exito houses women and their children who have suffered domestic violence. It supports 30 women and their children who have utilized our housing, counseling and job training which enables them to live independently. These women continue to attend life skill classes etc.with Mujeres con Exito.

Mujeres con Exito currently is offering a New York pretzel project. The women prepare and deliver these tasty pretzels once a week (with it without salt) on Wednesdays. $2 a pretzel, 3 for $5 and 5 for $10. Order at All proceeds go to the women they support.

To donate:
By bank deposit: Write for instructions
By PayPal: mcbsusan@outlook

For more information:


Give Refugees A Chance (Grace) works primarily with the Venezuelan community but also with other refugee groups. It coordinates with a number of other organizations and individuals, including Acción Social Municipal del Cantón Cuenca and Jennifer Rodriguez of Matthew Bagels Store.

To donate goods, call (or WhatsApp) Karla Sánchez at +593 95 920 4786 or email her at Large donations can be collected from the donor. Grace is located at Castle Grace at 25-01 Guillermo Medina y Mariscal Lamar and is open to receive donations from 10 am to 12 noon on Thursdays and Fridays.

To donate money: By PayPal or bank deposit, go to the Grace website

For more information: Contact Karla.

Hogar de Esperanza

Cuenca’s Hogar de Esperanza is providing emergency food support from our food bank to more than 70 people each day during the Covid-19 crisis. The focus is on day workers who now have no income, young mothers, the elderly, homeless, migrants, and those with chronic illnesses. The Cuenca homeless shelter also receives support from our food bank. There are currently have 34 people staying at Hogar who receive shelter and three meal. So far, we have served more than 4,125 meals during the lockdown began.

In addition, Hogar de Esperanza is collaborating with Cuenca Solidaria, a program run by Cuenca’s municipal counselors targeting needy families with young children and seniors, to distribute daily bread and milk to 1,500 vulnerable families each week. Hogar also works with other foundations and groups to identify those in need, including Mujeres con Exito/Casa Maria Amor, the local hospitals and Casa del Migrante.

To donate: Go to the Hogar de Esperanza website.

For more information: Contact Garry Vatcher at or Tel: 099 094 7611

Municipal Food Bank

Cuenca’s municipal government is appealing to local expats to support its Food Bank project to feed Cuenca’s poor. Coordinated by the city’s Office of International Relations and Cooperation, the food bank has delivered thousands of meals.

To donate:
By bank desposit: Banco del Pacifico account number is 0745-5453, Ruc# 0160024960001. The minimum donation is $5.

For more information: Contact Bill Keyes at Or, phone (or WhatsApp) the food bank project director, Sofia Arce, at +593 99-281-2016.

Feed the animals

Yurak Allpa

The Yurak Allpa animal rescue and rehabilitation center in Tarqui is appealing to the public to help feed its animals. Yurak Allpa has both wild animals, including deer, llamas, tigrillos, foxes and various raptors, as well as domestic animals that have suffered abuse.

Alberto Vele, project director, says he is struggling to keep his 400 animals fed. Not only has the coronavirus crisis prevented the public from visiting Yurak Allpa and making donations in person, but food prices have increased, some products by as much as 300 percent.

To donate:
Call Alberto Vele at 098 565 2133 to make arrangements.

Amaru Biopark Zoo

Lions are among the hungry animals at Amaru Biopark.

Cuenca’s Amaru Biopark on the Cuenca-Azogues autopista also faces a financial emergency due to the quarantine and is asking the public for help. The zoo houses hundreds of mostly Andean animals but also has a number of African lions rescued from private and public collections that could longer provide care.

To donate:
Go to the zoo’s GoFundMe page
For more information: Zoo website

Coast Animal Rescue

Because Ecuador’s coastal region depends on heavily on tourism, the economy has been devasted leaving, many pets uncared for.

To donate and for more information:
Go to:


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