Soy program taking off in new location - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Home » El Salvador » Soy program taking off in new location

Summer 2023 newsletter


Melissa & Peter Altman and Ann Greig, El Salvador

Children at the after-school center Patronato Lidia Coggiola in El Zaite enjoying soy milk and cookies during their afternoon snack time.

Dear friends,

In our first three months in Zaragoza, the Soy Nutrition Program has already:

  • Produced and distributed over 8,000 servings of soy milk to pre-school children at high risk for food insecurity.
  • Baked and delivered over 9,000 nutrition enriched baked goods to our school and community partners.
  • Provided over 800 quarts of soy milk to senior citizens and families in need.
  • Distributed 3,000 pounds of beans and 3,000 pounds of rice to over 200 families suffering from food insecurity.
  • Facilitated nutrition and educational workshops to over 50 families.

Ann, Melissa and Pete in front of strawberry soy milk that will be distributed the following day to our partner communities.

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

A note from Ann Greig, founder of the Soy Nutrition Program

God of love, help us to remember that Christ has no body now on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes to see the needs of the world. Ours are the hands with which to bless everyone. Ours are the feet with which Christ is to go about doing good.

May we be eager and willing to minister to one another. Inspire us, o Spirit. Move each of us to minister to our neighbor, not as we would want someone to do unto us but as they would want us to do for them.
—St. Teresa of Ávila

Indeed, the Soy Program is responding to these words by St. Teresa as the transition from San Ramón to Zaragoza unfolds.
I am happy to share the experience and knowledge I have accumulated with my soy ministry experience to the development and growth here in Zaragoza. Along with the contributions and enthusiasm of Melissa and Pete Altman, it helps with food insecurity and empowers Salvadorans with new alternatives: healthy soy recipes.

The remainder of this year will focus on developing soy workshops, creating new recipes, and training others to continue duplicating the sessions.

I enjoy being here in Zaragoza; it brings back memories of my first years with the Soy ministry when I had so much to learn! Indeed, I continue on the learning curve.

I am happy for the future of the Soy Program in Zaragoza: I trust in the abilities, spirit of service, initiative and enthusiasm that Melissa and Pete bring to the ministry.

I want to express my gratitude to all of you who have supported the Soy Program and my sustenance over the years. I hope those of you who are able will continue supporting the Soy Program in Zaragoza. It plays a vital role in helping Salvadorans who have insufficient money to buy adequate amounts of food.

A kindergartener from the El Cedro rural community drinking a cup of our soy milk.

A note from Melissa and Pete

A few years ago, we would have laughed if someone had proposed that we take over the Soy Nutrition Program. While we stood in awe of Ann and the program she had built through passion for service and force of will, we were experts in neither soy nor nutrition.

If our almost 10 years in mission in El Salvador have taught us anything, it is how to listen; how to listen to God and how to listen to the local people. As we met with community leaders and visited poor areas in Zaragoza, we heard the same thing over and over: People are struggling to get enough food. The pandemic, worldwide inflation, and changing weather patterns, along with the wounds of years of violence, have put almost half of all Salvadorans into food insecurity, including many of our neighbors in Zaragoza.

The more people we spoke to, the clearer it became: We were being called to continue Ann’s ministry of providing nutrition to those in need.

We are blessed to have Ann with us during this year of transition. Her lifetime of experience has accelerated our learning process and allowed us to hit the ground running. Ann’s wisdom, along with the vast wisdom of our partners in local parishes, schools, and community organizations, has helped us to reimagine the Soy Nutrition Program in a way that responds to the pressing needs of our local community.

We still have a lot to learn, but we have no doubt that we are where we are supposed to be. As always, God had the last laugh.

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

Please consider joining our circle of COMPANIONS IN MISSION. Companions in Mission are generous donors, like you, who give financial gifts on a regular (usually monthly) basis. For more information visit  Become a Companion in MissionThank 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.