A Waco Baptist layman and his family are coordinating a multi-state effort involving multiple Christian groups to provide food and hygiene supplies at the request of Cuban Baptists.
L.M. Dyson from First Woodway Baptist Church and his son Peter are facilitating the shipment to Cuba of 40-foot containers loaded with beans, rice, soup mix, cooking oil, diapers, hygiene items, paper goods and over-the-counter medicine.
They hope to send up to 18 containers of food and other essential supplies at an estimated total cost of $500,000. Churches in both the Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba and the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba will provide the food and other items to people in need.
Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, an estimated 265 million people globally could suffer severe hunger by the end of 2020—close to double the number who faced acute food shortages before the worldwide pandemic, according to a report from the World Food Program.
About three-fourths of the food required to feed Cuba’s 11.4 million people is imported.
“This is not just Cuba having food problems. It’s a global need,” said L.M. Dyson, a retired business professor at Baylor University, who has helped Cuban Baptists for more than two decades by linking resources in North America to needs on the island nation.
Containers include soup mix from Canada, rice from Louisiana and pinto beans from Colorado, shipped from Houston and Miami. The first shipments are due to arrive in Mariel, Cuba, on July 7.
In addition to First Woodway Baptist Church, other partners include Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Baptists in North Carolina and Florida, East-West Ministries Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas and individual donors.
“It’s a picture of cooperation—Baptist conventions and churches from different states working together with other Christians to meet needs,” Dyson said.