GUADALAJARA – Food staples and hundreds of boxes to assemble up to 2,000 daily pantries occupy the halls of Expo Guadalajara, which before the health contingency by COVID-19 was a meeting point for international fairs and businessmen in western Mexico .

The convention center put aside activities such as the Guadalajara Book Fair (FIL), the Talent Land innovation fair and international meetings to temporarily become the place where tons of products such as rice, oats, beans and milk are stored.

These products will be distributed during isolation to prevent the expansion of COVID-19 in Mexico, which currently totals 20,739 confirmed cases and 1,972 deaths.

As part of the “Jalisco without hunger” program, promoted by businessmen, civil and religious organizations, the Expo was adapted as a warehouse for items from the basic basket that will feed up to 45,000 low-income families in the coming months, Santiago explained this Saturday. Orendáin, general coordinator of the initiative.

“With the great economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, things are being redefined and Expo Guadalajara goes from being this most important convention center in the country to being the home of ‘Jalisco without hunger’ to benefit society as a non-governmental support, but civil society support so that people can go through these difficult times, “he said.

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Some 30 workers who previously attended the logistics, security and food areas of the compound changed their uniform for special white suits that cover them from the ankles to the neck, plastic masks and face masks to assemble the pantries under strict sanitary protocols.

Through the doors where books, bookshelves, furniture and thousands of people usually enter, tons of food arrive and are donated by companies or citizens.

Orendáin announced that with the help of civil society, in the coming months they will produce up to 100,000 pantries per month with items such as oats, cereal, rice, cookies, pasta soup, powdered milk, canned tuna, beans, lentils, oil, sugar or coffee. .

“In the program we want to deliver up to 450,000 pantries in the next six months and that is a multimillion dollar amount and we require the support of society, large or small donations,” he said.

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The 40-piece box of the 16 different food products was designed for its high nutritional value and meets the needs of a family of four for two weeks, he explained.

The first 2,000 groceries left the Expo on Thursday for Guadalajara’s most impoverished neighborhoods. The intention is to reach other regions of Jalisco through the churches and the social aid systems of the municipalities and the state government.

“We cannot reach the entire state at the same time, we need to prioritize the most marginalized areas and generate a greater collection exercise so that the money allows us to reach the 125 municipalities,” he said.

The Mexican economy contracted 0.1% in 2019 and according to international organizations it will contract around 6.5% due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus, which will generate job losses throughout the country.