Things That Matter

Puerto Ricans Are Receiving Emergency Food Packages That Are Using Candy For Fruit

It has been almost two months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and inhabitants were forced to deal with its laundry list of impacts. After months of dealing with red-tape and neglect, Puerto Rican residents are now dealing with what many on social media are criticizing as inadequate food aid. All of which, many are claiming, is coming to them from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the form of Cheez-Its, Snickers bars, and canned sausages.

Here’s what the food packages look like as well as FEMA’s response to the complaints.

According to images of the boxes that the food rations were delivered in, the foods provided “fit” certain specifications.

One image from a family member of a survivor revealed a box that suggested that the canned meat equated to an entrée. The packs of Cheez-Its served as starch, the Air Heads candies met fruit requirements, and the Baby Ruth candy bars were dessert. The snack packs are being distributed on the island to people who have been waiting for government-issued food to help in their own recovery.

People in Puerto Rico have been sharing images of the food packages that they’ve been receiving from the government agency, FEMA.

mitú reached out to FEMA for information about the snack packs. The agency explained that it was not involved in the orders or purchases of the snack packs sent to aid the island’s recovery. Rather, the agency said that the food packages are coming from a variety of local agencies, which include the Defense Logistics Agency. FEMA’s only involvement with the snack packs is in their distribution. Ron Roth, a spokesperson from the agency, also spoke to mitú and said that in addition to delivering the snack packs, the agency is also involved in delivering ready-to-eat meals to residents on the island.

Roth further explained the way in which the emergency response agency works with contracted companies to provide food packages in case of emergencies.

“While a list of contracts for supplying meals is not currently available, FEMA’s contracting process identifies companies capable of providing several approaches to appropriately feeding disaster survivors,” said Roth. “One of these approaches in Puerto Rico has used ‘snack packs’ previously ordered and stockpiled by the Defense Logistics Agency. These snacks are not meant to replace full meals.”

In addition to local agencies, these companies also include nongovernmental organizations and private contractors who work to organize and send food to victims of natural disasters quickly.

Roth said that FEMA is aware of the social media backlash and that FEMA is working to validate the claims of only receiving snack packs.

These snack packs have made their way to the Puerto Rican people since October through the Defense Logistics system, according to Roth. The spokesperson further explained that FEMA contracts vendors that can provide full meals for disaster victims. “FEMA is committed to providing stable and nutritious meals to the citizens of Puerto Rico,” Roth said. “Early on in the disaster 18 school locations were set up to provide morning and noon meals seven days a week. This is in addition to the ongoing wide range of meals already being provided to survivors by the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA and the numerous volunteer agencies feeding Puerto Ricans across the island.”

Along with ensuring these snack packs are delivered to victims, Roth made clear that FEMA includes works to ensure food rations meet customary requirements. “FEMA’s general contract language calls for full meals to provide foods composed of starches, vegetables, and protein,” Roth said. “They should have over 700 calories and be culturally appropriate for Puerto Rico with proper utensils.”

According to Roth, the crisis in Puerto Rico has posed the “largest emergency food and water distribution effort” in FEMA history.

“Requests for meal deliveries are declining as supermarkets and other parts of the private sector continue to reopen, providing survivors additional ways to feed their families,” Roth said. “More work still needs to be done, however, and all these efforts together will continue the progress we’ve made.”

If you or a loved one has only received snack packs and not full meals, FEMA’s representative recommends contacting local officials or contacting FEMA so that they can address the issue. The number for disaster victims to contact FEMA is 1-800-621-3362.


READ: 5 Creative Ways The People Of Puerto Rico Are Persevering

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These 9 Arroz Con Frijoles Recipes From Latin America Will Change Your Nightly Dinner

Culture

These 9 Arroz Con Frijoles Recipes From Latin America Will Change Your Nightly Dinner

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One of the most iconic dishes from Latin America is arroz con frijoles. The mix of rice and beans is a smell and taste that sends every Latino back to their childhood. Mami and abuela always know how to make beans better than we ever can. However, practice makes perfect. Just try these recipes until you finally land on the flavor and texture you remember from childhood.

1. Casamiento Salvadoreño

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#casamientosalvadoreño

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Casamiento Salvadoreño is a beautiful marriage of rice, red beans, peppers, and onion. The four different components get added at different times slowly building up until you hit the perfect balance in the flavor and consistency. If you like a savory breakfast, pair it up with some eggs and maduros and enjoy a Salvadoran breakfast.

2. Arroz Congri

Arroz Congri is one of the most quintessential dishes of Cuban cuisine. The mix of the rice and black beans is something you can find in any Cuban home or restaurant. The dish relies on the rice, bell peppers, and beans cooking together with spices until the water is absorbed. The method of cooking is how you can plate it in the iconic thick disc shape that we all know and love.

3. Arroz Com Feijão Preto

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Sometimes, I cook at home in my kitchen. Here is a comforting and ridicously delicious Brazilian Black Bean recipe These black bean beauties are cooked with onions, garlic, and seasoned perfectly with coriander, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, next garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of cilantro to brighten it all up. They make a great side dish to enchiladas and more. Ingredients: 2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed 1/2 Tbls cooking oil 2/3 cups diced, white onion 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced (I use a microplane zester) 2/3 cups chicken stock or broth 1/4 tspn cumin 1/4 tspn coriander 1/4 tspn mexican oregano salt &pepper to taste 1 lime and sprig of cilantro for garnish Instructions: In a small bowl mix together the cumin, coriander, and mexican oregano and set aside. In a saucepan on the stove, heat the olive oil to med-high heat. Saute onions for about 3 minutes or until they just start to become translucent. Add garlic and saute abut 30 seconds more. Add beans and broth, and seasonings then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. When they are done cooking, remove from heat and add in a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Then use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to lightly mash some of the beans. You don’t want to pulverize all of the beans. The beans will thicken more upon resting. You can add more broth/stock if, they get to thick. Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites I've been making this recipe since 2009. It is my absolute favorite black bean recipe. @utahanaskitchen @ourbestbites #blackbeans #brazilianblackbeans #sidedish #semihomemade #cooking #homecooking

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Arroz com Feijão Preto is Brazil’s answer to the regional love of rice and beans. What really sets these beans apart is the use of bacon to add some flavor and substance to the dish. Of course, there are still some veggies included but the true magic of this Brazilian dish comes from the smoky and salty bacon flavor.

4. Tacu-Tacu

Peru is known to be one of the best food destinations in the world. Tacu-Tacu is just another example of Peru’s superior food status in the world. The most unique, and fun, thing about this arroz con frijoles dish is the shape. To achieve the texture for this you have to remember to let the rice sit in the bean mixture for 15 minutes so that the rice absorbs enough liquid to be malleable.

5. Gallopinto

Gallopinto is another version of arroz con frijoles that requires properly layering and add the ingredients. The rice does cook for a brief moment with the onion until it is coated with the hot oil before adding the water. After the rice is done you add the beans and let the delicious dish cook to perfection.

6. Arroz Con Habichuelas

Olives go a long way it making this Dominican dish really stand out. Arroz con habichuelas is a classic Dominican dish that brings together chicken bouillon, olives, rice, and beans together to create something you won’t forget.

7. Arroz Con Queso

Okay, so this isn’t an arroz con frijoles recipe. However, who doesn’t like trying new things. Arroz con queso is a famous Bolivian dish and it is always worth trying something new. Cheese is one of the greatest and most important food groups, tbh so rice with cheese is just…. *chef’s kiss.*

8. Arroz Con Gandules

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Order today #Thursday #ArrozConGandules

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Another rice dish that doesn’t use beans but is still just as delicious. Arroz con gandules is a Puerto Rican dish with pigeon peas that every rice loves needs to try at least once. Just one bite will transport you directly to the Caribbean island and will make you scream “WEPA!”

9. Arroz Con Frijoles Refritos

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These Vegetarian Enchiladas @lasmargaritasbc were AMAZING. You can definitely get one of the protein enchiladas (they have a variety) but I really wanted to try this one. It's Two corn tortillas rolled with cheese, green onions, olives, green peppers, tomatoes. Covered with a mild red enchilada sauce, melted cheese and topped with sour cream. Served with refried beans and mexican rice ($14.95). You honestly, don't even miss the meat! You also get complimentary chips and salsa. I love mexican rice and beans and this definitely hit the spot. Would 10/10 recommend. – – – – – #foodgram#instaeat#eatinvancouver#foodie#foodadventures#instafood#instalike#instafollow#followforfollow#foodgram#foodie#foodphotography#foodcoma#eeeeeats#instafoodie#girllikestoeat#604foodie#enchiladas#vegetarian#mexicanfood#mexicanriceandbeans#vegetarianrecipes#healthyfood

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It’s all about the beans here. They have to be cooked more than once and in more than one way. After all, they are called refried beans so they aren’t just cooked once and done. These are a classic around the world and you have definitely had them whenever you went to a Mexican restaurant.

READ: This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

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‘Siempre, Luis’ Is A Touching Love Letter From Lin-Manuel Miranda To His Father

Entertainment

‘Siempre, Luis’ Is A Touching Love Letter From Lin-Manuel Miranda To His Father

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We all have that one person who has changed the world for us. For Lin-Manuel Miranda, that person is his dad. The Puerto Rican entertainer created a documentary to tell his father’s story and it is a love letter to his father.

“Siempre, Luis” is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s love letter to his father.

The trailer for the HBO Documentary is a moving testament to the indomitable spirit of Luis Miranda. The Puerto Rican powerhouse helped lead a movement to get Latinos involved in and interested in politics focusing on Puerto Ricans who had left the island.

Lin-Manuel’s documentary is a deep dive into the life of the man who raised the creator of “In The Heights” and “Hamilton.” Luis was Lin-Manuel’s inspiration when playing Alexander Hamilton in his wildly popular and famous musical.

“He’s just a relentless motherf*cker,” Lin-Manuel says in the documentary.

The documentary takes people on a ride covering decades of Luis’ life. The main focus is his political activism and how one man helped create a movement to get Latinos involved in politics. Luis leveraged the hate and pushback against the Latino community as a way to energize and mobilize Latinos to get them involved like never before.

Then, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Luis’ home and magical escape. The island endured a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power to millions of Americans for months. Many Puerto Ricans fled the island for the mainland giving them a chance to vote for president in 2020.

“For me, Puerto Rico is this perfect place that all of a sudden doesn’t exist anymore,” Luis says through tears in the documentary. “I immediately saw it as my responsibility to rebuild the island.”

He added: “Doing everything we can becomes the job.

“I told him, ‘I don’t want to be a widow. There isn’t another you to replace you,’” Luz Towns-Miranda recalls to the camera about her husband’s mission to fix Puerto Rico.

Luis’ time talking about his work in Puerto Rico is accompanied by videos images of the “Hamilton” stage being constructed for the show on the island. There are shots of Luis offering aid to people and preparing meals for those impacted by the hurricane.

Luis’ activism has grown over the years and he is ready to keep making change.

“Siempre, Luis” is now available on HBO and HBOmax for your viewing pleasure. People have praised the film’s insightfulness into one of the Latinos who got his community activated and politically engaged.

READ: Lin-Manuel Wants To Keep Lots Of Ticket Prices Down To $10 When He Brings ‘Hamilton’ To Puerto Rico

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