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

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad

Culture

13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad

This year don’t bring some basic bland food to Thanksgiving. Bring something that will surprise your jefitos, impress your primos, nourish your vegan/vegetarian friends, and showcase your Latinidad. Forget boring mashed potatoes, over-salted, cream-sauced vegetables, store-bought pie, or being afraid of vegan/vegetarian dishes.

You’re an adult now, this is your chance to show your love through home-made food like your family has done all these years.

1. Tamales de Green Chile y Queso

Pinterest

There’s nothing more festive than tamales over the holidays, and you don’t have to wait until Christmas. Prepare a dozen or so of these for yourself and anyone else who’d rather fill up on hearty Mexican food than dry turkey. This recipe is vegetarian if you make your own masa as instructed, but if you don’t care if they are fully vegetarian, or you just don’t have much time, you could buy prepared masa con manteca from any Latin American food market. Some of us never make our own masa!

2. Brussels Sprouts with Mexican Chorizo

Pinterest

If you want to bring something a bit more traditional, or you’ve been asked to bring a vegetable side dish, try these Brussels sprouts. Don’t be afraid that people don’t like Brussels sprouts, cooked this way in the fat from the cooked chorizo, they are sure to impress. The red Mexican chorizo will turn the light part parts of the sprouts red, resulting in a festive, and Mexican flag-colored, green and reddish.

3. Sqirl’s Brussels Sprouts

http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/2013/11/thanksgiving-side-recipe-sqirls-brussels-sprouts/

Or maybe you’d rather put chicharron powder on your Brussels. Cooked in butter, sherry vinegar, and fleur de sal. Sqirl LA’s food is so good people from all over the country, often come straight from the airport to eat there. It happens so often that the restaurant will happily store your luggage in their stock room. Bring this Latin-flavored recipe to Thanksgiving and show your friends what all the fuss is about.

4.  Tropical Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

Pinterest

Many think that this Thanksgiving staple shouldn’t be messed with, but I can assure you that American Indians and English settlers didn’t eat cranberry sauce out of the can. That said, why not try something different and add some chipotle and pineapple to some fresh cranberries for sweet, sour, and spicy version.

5. Apple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

Pinterest

Thanks to all the Latino’s in the US, chorizo is making a strong showing in Thanksgiving dishes. If you’ve been asked to bring stuffing not cooked in the bird, make this savory cornbread chorizo stuffing. This recipe also calls for cumin, oregano, and cilantro to help round out the Latin flavors.

6. Abuelo’s Papas Con Chile or Mexican Mashed Potatoes

Pinterest

These mashed potatoes use Velveeta, but people all over the internet swear by this recipe. If you were asked to bring the papas try this dish. Tell us how it went.

7. Empanadas de Camote

Twitter

This recipe combines sweet potato, bacon, and queso fresco. Hearty and filled filled with protein and iron, these empanadas are a lighter alternative to bringing masa heavy tamales. With pretty folded edges, these empanadas will look pretty on any Thanksgiving table.

8. Pan Amasado or Chilean Bread Rolls

Twitter

So you’ve been asked to bring some rolls, but you don’t want to just go to Safeway and grab whatever they have, why not make Pan Amasado? The recipe, only calls for nine every-day ingredients, including shortening, egg, and butter. Sabroso!

9. Blistered Peppers with Lime

Twitter

Blistered Padrón or shishito peppers topped with spicy sea salt are common now on menus in upscale restaurants all around the country. They are super easy to make too. Bring this to Thanksgiving at your adventurous family/friend eaters, as in the same batch, one pepper can be quite mild and the next one quite hot.

10. Puerto Rican Mofongo

Pinterest

If you’re looking to bring a taste of the island to Thanksgiving make this traditional style mofongo. Made of plantains, garlic, and pork rinds, this dish is an adaptation of a West African slave dish by Taino Indians made with ingredients available on the island. A similar dish is made by Dominicans.

11. Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

Twitter

If you’re a vegan attending a non-vegan Thanksgiving, make yourself these hearty tamales. This recipe will show you how to make both the vegan masa (made with coconut oil instead of lard) and the adobo potato filling. The recipe also calls for garlic, oregano, clove, cinnamon, and cumin. Tamales without masa are lower in calories and saturated fat.

12. Vegan Chile Rellenos

Pinterest

Okay, so many of the vegan recipes here are from the same person, Dora of Dora’s Table. This mujer, Dora, who was born and raised in México and to culinary school in New York, works extra hard to create vegan versions of traditional Mexican dishes, using traditional Mexican ingredients. Her Vegan Chile Rellenos use poblano chiles and vegan cheese. On her website, Dora warns that this recipe isn’t what she’d call healthy.

13. Empanadas de Argentina

Pinterest

If you’re looking to bring the taste of South America to Thanksgiving dinner, make these Argentinian Tamales. They are made with ground beef, bell pepper, and Latin-flavor spices. You’ll save time on the dough too because it’s made with store-bought puff pastry flour.

Sure, Pumpkin Pie Is Great, But Here Are 12 Latino Desserts That Are Even Better For Thanksgiving

Culture

Sure, Pumpkin Pie Is Great, But Here Are 12 Latino Desserts That Are Even Better For Thanksgiving

josie_delights / guatemala / Instagram

We Rounded Up Our Favorite Latino Desserts That You Should Have At Every Thanksgiving Dinner

12 Cold Weather Comfort Desserts Every Latino Should Make For Thanksgiving

From Churros To Buñuelos And Atole—12 Latino Desserts That Are Perfect For Thanksgiving

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a good old pumpkin pie, but if you’re lucky enough to attend a Latino Thanksgiving, boy oh boy, you’re in for a treat. Latinos don’t settle for just one dessert option, we have plenty to choose from and you best believe a few tías will bring different ones. From pastel de tres leches to churros and all the drinks that go with them, there are some wonderful treats in store. Yes, more often than not, a good cafecito will pair up perfectly with your postre, but how about a Mexican ponche? Or a Guatemalan Atol? We rounded up our fave cold-weather desserts that every Latino should whip up for Thanksgiving.

1. Alfajores

Credit: nosjuntapaula / Instagram

These soft, delicate and buttery cookies are held together by the addicting caramel sauce, an elixir of the gods; dulce de leche. This option goes perfectly with a good old cafecito and chisme. That sobremesa is sure to get lit with all that sugar pumping up the tías and abuelitas. 

2. Arroz con leche

Credit: aliceesmeralda / Instagram

A foolproof winter classic. Arroz con leche is the ultimate Latino comfort dessert any time of year tbh. Try it calientito with a good amount of cinnamon and raisins. Provecho!

3. Buñuelos —Colombianos and Mexicanos

Credit: nachoecia / Instagram

The Colombian iteration isn’t quite a sweet treat as it’s filled with cheese, but the addition of brown sugar, butter and tapioca make it a dessert in our book. As for the Mexican version, they’re usually made during the winter holidays. Mexican Buñuelos are made of fried dough, covered in cinnamon sugar and if you’re not about fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar, idk what to tell you, there’s something wrong going on.  

4. Chocoflan

Credit: dolchecakes / Instagram

Also known in Mexico as ‘Impossible Cake’, this delicious mass of goodness combines two great things into one god-sent hybrid. If you love flan, but would also like to have a slice of chocolate cake, Latina moms everywhere say; “¿Por qué no los dos?” The rich dense chocolate, topped with creamy vanilla flan, drizzled with a thick layer of cajeta is, quite literally, what dessert dreams are made of. 

5. Churros

Credit: blizzdesserts / Instagram

There’s something so satisfying when biting into a warm, doughy, crunchy and sugary churro. You can find these delicious treats all over Latin America, and they’re particularly yummy when paired with a cup of hot chocolate! Extra points if you stuff them with cajeta or chocolate. 

6. Flan

Credit: silvanacocinando / Instagram

Almost every Latin American household will have its own version of flan. From Puerto Rico to Costa Rica and everywhere in between, Latinos love flan. The creamy vanilla-flavored concoction is basically irresistible. 

7. Natilla Colombiana

Credit: josie_delights / Instagram

This Colombian custard dessert is very traditional during Christmas, but we like to think that it’s also good at any time of the year. Natilla is a rich, custard-like dessert traditionally served alongside the deep-fried cheese buñuelos we told you about earlier. You’ll definitely have to forget about la dieta if you want to have this option. 

8. Suspiro de Limeña

Credit: rodolfo1913 / Instagram

Its name literally translates to “Sigh of the lady from Lima.” This Peruvian dessert is definitely sigh-inducing. The creamy, caramel-like custard, topped with a Port flavored meringue is an extra sweet treat for this cold season. The dessert originated in the city of Lima, and it is said that it gained its name after a poet said it tasted soft and sweet, like the sigh of a woman.

9. Pastel de Tres leches 

Credit: tallerdenoemi / Instagrm

This quintessentially Latino cake is made with three types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. This is definitely not for the lactose intolerant. The cake soaks up all these liquids, making it a super decadent treat. If you’ve never had this traditional Latino dessert, prepared to be delighted, and have the coffee pot a-ready. 

10. Ponche Navideño

Credit: mexicoinmykitchen / Instagram

Traditional Mexican fruit punch is a hot, delicious concoction. Made with more than ten fruits including apple, tamarind, jamaica, tejocotes, raisins. This punch is spiced with cinnamon, clove, and piloncillo. It’s basically Christmas in a cup.

11. Camotes en dulce 

Credit: aprilxcruz / Instagram

Mexican candied sweet potatoes are a must. Día de los Muertos, on Nov. 1, marks the beginning of Camote season. ‘Camotes Enmielados’ is made of sweet potatoes, simmered in a cinnamon and piloncillo syrup. This dish makes for the perfect fall treat. 

12. Guatemalan Atol

Credit: guatemala / Instagram

Made of ground corn, the flavors of this drink range from cinnamon to black beans to chocolate to cajeta. Guatemalan Atol, or Atole in Mexico, is a drink made differently in many countries of Latin America, but there’s one thing that remains the same everywhere, and that is that it’s a fall-winter staple you can’t miss out on.

READ: 13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad