Year Joined MKLM: 1982
Country: El Salvador
City: San Salvador
Focus: Education, Health
Project(s): Health through Nutrition Soy Project
People Served: More than 8,500 people; trained around 400 Salvadorans to prepare soy products.
Project Goal(s): Provide families with better health and nutrition, through the use of soybeans, and provide workshops about soy product preparation for sustenance and commercialization.
Ann co-founded the Soy Program in 1994. The project strives to improve the health of Salvadorans who have limited means, especially malnourished children and pregnant women. It primarily serves San Ramon, a district of San Salvador, with approximately 250 individuals from 50 families. They come daily to pick up fresh soymilk, and other items such as banana soy bread, beans and rice, pasta and soy pancakes. The enterprise requires 125 pounds of soy every week to maintain these offerings! Costs are kept low for families to ensure that nutrition is accessible.
As a child, Ann loved learning to cook and wondered why so many people were unable to have enough to eat. She would look at the kind people who participated in soup kitchens or feeding centers and thought she would like to have a feeding center one day, to provide a food program to serve those who are unable to afford and consume adequate calories. Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…”
Ann’s mission vocation was a result of her 2-year experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador. After coming back to the States, she wanted to return to Latin America to do mission work, but only in a faith-based context. This is when she met Sue Delahunt, who was entering the Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ program, and thus Ann’s journey began.
Ann oversees the Soy Program and focuses on health education and nutrition. She works in coordination with different communities, the National University of San Salvador, and parishes. Ann trains Salvadorans and they in turn either train other people or use the products for commercialization.
The program coordinates with other groups and parishes on nutritional education and provides workshops that teach Salvadorans to prepare soymilk and soy products. Trained representatives promote and sell the soy products in their local parishes and/or communities. The proceeds help fund the program’s continuation.
Health through Nutrition is a legally recognized small business known as Nutravida (Nurture Life). This allows Ann to import soybeans and develop a variety of soy products. She and her team toast cinnamon, sorghum, and soybeans, and grind these ingredients into a flour used in the preparation of soy cookies, breads and cakes. Money from sales helps to sustain the Soy Program, which is also dependent on the generous contributions of our partners in mission, for which Ann is so very grateful.
Ann originally is from Rolla, MO. She lived in many places, as her father was in the Navy. The last assignment was Coronado, CA., and Ann has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of California, Davis. After graduating in 1977, she joined the Peace Corps, serving in El Salvador 1977-1979. From 1980 until joining MKLM in August 1982, she worked with migrants in Dover, DE, Immokalee, FL. and Newton Grove, NC, with the East Coast Migrant Health Project.
Early on with Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Ann served in Tacna, Peru, working with Caritas Tacna, training nutrition promoters who serve in Maternal Child Health Centers. She transferred to El Salvador in 1993.