Soy Program continues to thrive - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Fall 2023 newsletter


Melissa & Peter Altman and Ann Greig, El Salvador

Ann and Evey clean toasted peanuts to be used in soy cookies.

Dear friends,

So far this year, the Soy Nutrition Program has:

  • Distributed over 14,000 pounds of beans, rice, soy, and other staples to help over 300 families affected by food insecurity.
  • Provided 16,000 servings of soymilk to children in pre-schools and community programs.
  • Baked and delivered almost 20,000 protein-enriched baked goods to children
  • Distributed over 400 gallons of soy milk to the elderly
  • Educated over 100 families as to how to prepare food in a more healthy way.

None of this would have been possible without your support, prayers, and generosity! Thank you for the difference you’ve made in the lives of so many Salvadorans in need.

Ann, Pete and Melissa

Evey helps her dad grind soaked soy beans that will be turned into soy milk for children in the communities served by the Soy Program.

A note from Ann

The transition from San Ramón to Zaragoza continues to unfold nicely. It has been an interesting, valuable and challenging experience.

One of our team members, Suzy Escobar (who has been working with the Soy Program since 2017), has shared her years of experience and added much-needed stability, good suggestions and a great sense of humor. Suzy has been a valuable asset in the success of the transition.

We also had extra help from the Altmans’ two teenagers: Eli, 16; and Evey, 13. While on summer break from June to August, they accomplished some time-consuming tasks. These included processing carrots and cleaning toasted peanuts — ingredients for cookie production. Eli helped with a new oatmeal cookie recipe and maintenance in the building. I hope that they will be willing to return next summer!

When the Soya was located in San Ramón, my commute was only 10 to 15 minutes from my apartment. Now that it is located in Zaragoza, it takes an hour or more each way. Traffic in San Salvador is bumper-to-bumper and stressful, but Suzy and I have found ways to make good use of our travel time: Sometimes we modify recipes, and other times, we enjoy the beautiful San Salvador scenery.

As a reminder, October is World Mission Month. I invite you to join us in praying for all missioners around the world. We also pray for all the generous people who make this work possible.

As always, I am grateful to all of you for your continued support for the soy ministry and sustenance. The transition to Zaragoza has been so worthwhile for the Soy Program. Melissa and Pete Altman are ready to swim alone (no pun intended; I still love to swim three times a week!).


A note from Melissa and Pete

As we’ve been adjusting to our new ministry at the Soy Program, we’ve also been adjusting to living in a new house. About a year ago, we moved into a semi-rural neighborhood on the outskirts of Zaragoza. We are constantly reminded that simple living is complicated, a mix of joys and challenges. Often the joys are born of the challenges:

Melissa, Eli and Evey weighing and repackaging soy beans

The challenge of not having water service for over a week brings the joy of chatting with our neighbors as we run a hose from our house to theirs so that they can fill their containers.

The challenge of an iguana in Eli’s room, or a scorpion in Evey’s room, brings joy, laughter and shrieks as our family collectively plots and executes our response.

The challenge of a storm knocking a tree onto our gate brings the joy of meeting new neighbors, who show up out of nowhere to help remove the tree and fix the gate.

But the challenge of bats defecating on our hanging laundry doesn’t bring any kind of joy at all.

Our voluntary commitment to simple living stands in contrast to the involuntary hardship so many people in El Salvador — including some of our neighbors — endure. We have neighbors who suffer from food insecurity and are beneficiaries of the Soy Program, receiving food support monthly. In the upcoming year, God willing, we hope to be able to provide food support to even more local families in crisis in Zaragoza.

Thanks for all the many ways you support us in mission.
Melissa and Pete

Please follow us on Facebook @Soy Nutrition Program El Salvador
and Instagram @soy_nutrition_elsalvador

Please consider supporting our mission work at the Soy Project with a donation through the link below.

We also invite you to walk with us as our “COMPANIONS IN MISSION.” Companions in Mission are friends and generous donors who give financial gifts on a regular (usually monthly) basis. For more information, click on the Become a Companion in Mission button belowThank you so much for your generosity! 

Melissa and Peter Altman
Melissa and Peter Altman, with their two children, Eli and Evey, are serving as Maryknoll lay missioners in El Salvador.