Legalized Scavenging

by AMG Missions Staff

The economic crisis in Argentina continues to grow worse-per capita income fell more than 10 percent last year alone-and the people suffering there are becoming increasingly frustrated and hopeless. Not long ago about a thousand unemployed workers marched on the streets of Buenos Aires, asking the supermarkets to provide food for them and their families. One of the leaders of the march explained, "If you don't give us food, we will have to loot the stores, because we don't have work and we have run out of alternatives."

At the bottom tier of the economy is the growing mass of scavengers-people who rummage through the trash at night to find any metal or glass that they can take to a recycling center the next day to get a few pesos. It is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 scavengers enter the capital city each day.

Scavenging by now has even included stealing statues of Argentina's historical heroes. The statues are made of metal and are worth a little money when they are recycled.

Recognizing the need, the government has legalized scavenging, so that those who must depend on this practice in order to survive are not punished. But scavenging has created a health issue. One young boy died recently because as he was going through trash bags he was cut. When he went to the public hospital for a tetanus shot, he was asked to pay for the medicine. Of course he could not afford it. Because of this incident, there are now campaigns for vaccines to protect the youths who must work as scavengers.

AMG is partnering with Jorge Ovando, pastor of the World Evangelization Baptist Church in Lujan, a small town near Buenos Aires. The church is providing meals to children at three different feeding centers throughout Buenos Aires. This in turn gives the church an open door to share about the Bread of Life-Jesus Christ.

As the economic situation continues to worsen, more and more people are desperately looking for help. AMG is working with Pastor Ovando to try to meet this increasing need. A gift of any size will be used to give physical and spiritual food to needy people.

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