country, ensuring regular meals for half a million people, he said.
- In January, he pledged to install community kitchens.
- The government and the private sector have proposed to provide infrastructure for community kitchens, so that they are decent spaces for the benefit of the families they cater to.
Meeting a commitment he made to the state in January, President Enrique Peña Nieto today launched 200 new community kitchens in Guerrero, bringing the total number in the state to 1,200.
After noting that the country now has over 5,200 community kitchens run by the Social Development Secretariat (SEDESOL), the president said that the government is undertaking actions to strengthen community kitchens, “Which allow us to meet the needs of those who have least and of those who are hungry.”
He recalled that at the beginning of his administration, “There were over seven million Mexicans who did not have regular meals. Sometimes they ate and sometimes they did not; there were days when they had nothing to eat.”
Therefore, he said, we undertook the National Crusade against Hunger, which has allowed us to set up community kitchens “that feed half a million people every day.”
President Peña Nieto explained that almost one in five of the country’s community kitchens is located in Guerrero.
He said that the government, together with the private sector, has proposed to provide them with infrastructure and, “Make soup kitchens not only places for families to obtain their daily food intake, but decent places, with optimal conditions for their proper functioning.”
We are going to ensure that these kitchens have cement floors, roofs, water, electricity and the basic services to operate for the benefit of all those it caters to,” he said.
He noted, moreover, “That now we are working to bring these community kitchens culture, entertainment, recreation, entertainment, movies, music and reading workshops.” Another objective is for, “Our senior citizens to train there and obtain their certificate attesting that they have completed their middle school studies.”
In short, he said, “We really want to make community kitchens a living space for those who are there, to support these families.”
The aim, he said, is by, “Working in unison, jointly and in harmony, and with great commitment, to continue taking firm steps to build a better nation, a better Guerrero, a better Acapulco and a better community.”
The president thanked the Mexican Army and Navy, “For being part of this great crusade that encourages us to take food to Mexican families.”
He also thanked the more than 60,000 volunteers who every day, run the community kitchens as well as private sector companies such as FEMSA and GRUMA, who have joined this initiative and are already helping to support community kitchens.
THERE IS NO GREATER SATISFACTION FOR US THAN TO SERVE THE SOCIETY THAT SUPPORTS US AND TO WHICH WE ARE INDEBTED: GENERAL SALVADOR CIENFUEGOS
National Defense Secretary (SEDENA) General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda said that for the Defense Secretariat, the National Crusade against Hunger, promoted by President Peña Nieto, “Is a priority issue we assume with responsibility in the missions enshrined in the Constitution and our Organic Law.”
Therefore, he added, since the beginning of the current administration, and in agreement with the Social Development Secretariat, the Defense Secretariat created the Coordinating Center of the National Crusade against Hunger and created cells with specialized, trained personnel to organize and operate community kitchens.
”This unprecedented, large-scale mission has involved the deployment of over 8,500 soldiers,” he said, adding that the Army has installed and delivered 1,791 community kitchens to 1,573 villages in different parts of the country, benefiting more than 749,000 people.
He said that members of the Mexican Army and Air Force, “Are proud to be part of such actions, because for us there is no greater satisfaction than to serve society, which supports us and to which we are beholden.”
General Cienfuegos Zepeda said that, “The fight against hunger is not the only challenge facing the state of Guerrero, the state has also been affected by criminal groups that disturb the population’s peace of mind.” He said that, “History has shown us that anyone who tries to challenge the rule of law ends up being accountable to the legal authorities. That will be the fate of those who try to harm the men and women of this beautiful state.”
He told the president and Guerrero society of, “The commitment to fulfill our missions, in keeping with the law and with full respect for the fundamental rights of individuals.” He declared: "No-one can be above the strength of institutions, but above all, nothing can break the will of the brave people of Guerrero who seek a better future for their families and their communities.”
COMBATING EXTREME POVERTY, HUNGER AND INEQUALITY IS A MATTER OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND THEREFORE A MATTER OF STATE: SOBERÓN SANZ
Navy Secretary (SEMAR) Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz noted that, “Combating extreme poverty, hunger and inequality is a matter of social justice, and therefore, a matter of state, a commitment and a duty with which the institutions responsible for the various social sectors must unreservedly comply.”
He said that for the Armed Forces, it is a great privilege to join efforts to improve Mexicans’ living conditions. We clearly said that, “At the beginning of this administration, we had two choices: to continue with a dynamics of simulation and close our eyes to the great problem of poverty or confront it, assuming all the challenges it implied.”
President Peña Nieto’s order was clear, he said: “Fight for social equality, a mandate soldiers, pilots and sailors have complied with and will continue to fulfill.”
He reported that since 2013, particularly in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Quintana Roo, Sonora and Veracruz, 3,861 elements of the Mexican Navy have trained nearly 12,000 volunteer cooks and chefs. Likewise, naval commanders have implemented campaigns on social rights and ways to enforce them, social work and training in health promotion, benefiting over a million and a half people who used to live in totally adverse conditions.
“Beyond the numbers, this effort speaks of the will and legitimate interest in seeking the welfare of our society by the institutions involved in these programs,” he said.
COMMUNITY KITCHENS ARE A PLACE TO EAT, BUT ALSO TO BUILD COMMUNITIES: JOSÉ ANTONIO MEADE KURIBREÑA
Strengthening community kitchens, a program that feeds 500,000 Mexicans on a daily basis, means that they are not only a space for receiving regular meals but also a space to build a community, said Social Development Secretary José Antonio Meade.
He said that the aim is for Community Kitchens, “To be like our homes; that means we want community kitchens to have floors, walls and a solid roof. We are doing a survey to locate community kitchens without these features, so that we can supply them, so that Community Kitchens can provide the same facilities as we have at home.”
Efforts are also underway, he said, to ensure that they have electricity, sewage and water in addition to Internet.
He added that they are not only physical places that provide food; they are a community space, reflecting a decision by President Peña Nieto, declared the head of SEDESOL.
THESE ACTIONS CONFIRM THE PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO THOSE WITH LEAST AND WITH THE GREATEST NEEDS IN GUERRERO: GOVERNOR HÉCTOR ASTUDILLO
Héctor Astudillo, governor of the State of Guerrero, thanked the president for delivering over 200 community kitchens in the state. “This action confirms the government’s firm commitment to those with least and with the greatest needs in Guerrero.”
The governor emphasized the close collaboration between the federal government and the state to advance priority issues such as security, crime prevention, social development, housing and health.
Astudillo said that in terms of insecurity, one of the main challenges to be overcome in Guerrero, members of the Federal Security Cabinet have contributed to “dealing with particularly complex moments that have generated fear and pain in the state.”
He told the president that the people of Guerrero recognize his work and commitment to Mexico. “Your visit strengthens us, and once again shows your solidarity with the people of Guerrero.”
THIS IS NO LONGER A COMMUNITY KITCHEN; IT’S OUR HOUSE: MAGDA CAROLINA HERNÁNDEZ AGUIRRE
A community kitchen is not just a dining-room, said Magda Carolina Hernández Aguirre, a volunteer at a community kitchen in Acapulco. "We feel like family; it is no longer a communal dining room, it is our own home, Mr. President.”
She said that when he beneficiaries come to have breakfast or lunch at the dining room, "”They talk about their experiences and problems and, sometimes offer solutions.”
Magda Carolina told President Enrique Peña Nieto that she hoped his wishes would be carried out at all the community kitchens, and that he would promote more spaces for this program; “For all the children, young people, adults and people who receive their meals here. With all our hearts, we thank you for visiting us and worrying about us, because hunger has been eliminated in Guerrero, because Guerrero is one hundred per cent behind you.”
THE COMMUNITY KITCHENS PROVIDE A HEALTHY, VARIED DIET IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITIES: NIÑA VANESA VARGAS
Vanessa Vargas Nava, a girl from the municipality of Chilpancingo girl, told President Enrique Peña Nieto that thanks to the Community Dining Room, she and the other beneficiaries have access to a healthy, varied diet in sufficient quantities. We do not come away with an empty stomach, we have a hearty breakfast and we come here to eat after school.”
Vanessa said her school performance has improved and said that, “Thanks to the soup kitchen, families support each other.”
“I’m from Chilpancingo and I came here, to Acapulco, because I wanted to meet you, Mr. President Enrique Peña Nieto,” she concluded.