Laura’s parents brought her to Love Link when she was eleven months old. Laura needed pediatric surgery and had lived in the hospital for much of her life. She was unable to gain weight and could not assimilate food. The hospital finally released her, saying there was nothing more they could do. As they walked home, believing they were taking their daughter home to die, Laura’s parents passed Love Link. Desperate, they brought her into the clinic. It was one of the worst cases of malnutrition the clinic staff had ever seen. They experimented with different formulas and finally found one that worked. When Laura’s parents returned two weeks later, her mother almost didn’t recognize her. Laura had gained so much weight that she looked like a different child.
Love Link cares for children like Laura who suffer from severe malnutrition. They are a link between the children and God, providing hope and helping the people of El Salvador learn about God’s faithful love.
- About half of El Salvador’s population lives below the national poverty line, able to buy food but not medicine or clothing. 46% of the population lacks access to clean water (Gale Virtual Reference Library).
- Seventeen percent of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. In rural areas, this statistic can be as high as 40% (World Food Programme).
- Two percent of children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, and 51% of infants under one year of age living in rural areas suffer from anemia (World Food Programme).
- Love Link accepts children under two years of age who suffer from severe malnutrition and provides them with nutrition and medical care. They can care for up to 30 babies at a time, and typically have between six and ten babies in residence at any one time.
- Medical experts estimate between 80 and 85% of the children cared for by Love Link would have died or led a very low quality of life without Love Link’s assistance.
- Love Link provides six months of follow-up care and also educates parents and families about good nutrition.
- Through the Love Basket program, Love Link works with the Ministry of Health to identify populations with the highest rates of malnutrition, then forms strategic alliances with interdepartmental health units to provide six months of care. Love Baskets provide families with nutritional foods so they can improve the feeding of children in their care.
Sam and Julie Hawkins began Love Link in 1987 after a visiting couple in El Salvador asked them if they could help take care of a 14-month-old girl with malnutrition. Though they stayed by her side in the hospital for two weeks, the young girl eventually passed away. Later, they were asked to help a four-month-old baby boy also suffering from malnutrition. They helped care for this child for over a year in his own home, and he recovered completely. Their experiences with these two children convinced the Hawkins that God had called them to care for children in El Salvador who needed love, food, and special care.
Today, Love Link operates a fully staffed clinic with beds for up to 30 infants. Since the ministry began, Love Link has cared for over 1,300 infants, and 98% of them have been saved and live healthy lives.
Love Link has been an Oakseed Ministry Partner since 2002. Oakseed helps support Love Link with funding and prayers and offers the opportunity to financially support a crib and pray for the babies who occupy that throughout the year.
- Pray that the number of those who know about Love Link and support their ministry will increase.
- Pray for God to supply volunteers, caregivers, and future leaders for the ministry.
- Pray for the children who come to Love Link for care, that they would be healed and nourished both physically and spiritually.