Guatemala Cookstoves

During the month of July 2023, as part of the 130th Anniversary Celebration at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, the Missions Committee leads a fundraiser to purchase cook stoves for our neighbors in Guatemala. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to purchase 25 stoves built and installed by the company Ecocomal in Guatemala.

AUG 2023 UPDATE: Final offering total was $6,160! Thank you! Stoves are delivered and in use.

Project administration for the wood-burning stoves is undertaken by the Health Committees of our Presbytery of Western North Carolina and of Sur Occidente in Guatemala. Financial support comes from donations of individuals and churches in our presbytery and from yearly grants from the PWNC Daily Change program. Our sister church, Arca de Noe, is part of the Sur Occidente Presbytery. Read more about the Presbytery of Western North Carolina Guatemala Partnership. 

Guatemala Open Fire Cooking

These stoves cut carbon emissions by 68%, reduce wood use by 50% and ultimately save lives. In Guatemala, more than half of families rely on open wood fires to cook. This causes the smoke to fill their homes and results in severe health and economic problems:

  • Smoke from more than 2 million open cooking fires is the leading cause of death for children under 5 in Guatemala.
  • Smoke from open cooking fires kills 8 times more people than malaria and daily cooking is equivalent to mothers and children smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day.
  • Approximately one ton of firewood per-person per-year is used for cooking and heat. The need for firewood as fuel contributes to deforestation. As a result, deforestation brings soil erosion, loss of animal habitat, and fewer oxygen-producing trees. Due to the high rate of consumption, forests and trees become increasingly scarce, and villagers must travel even further to find wood.
  • An average Guatemalan man, woman or child spends 20 hours a week gathering wood. Wood collection takes valuable time that could be spent at work or school.
  • Thousands of women and children each year suffer from debilitating burns from their cooking fires.

Guatemala Cooking Stoves

The churches in Sur Occidente identify communities and families to receive the stoves. To keep costs down, a truckload of stoves arrives 25 at a time.

Guatemala Stove Delivery

The stoves are delivered in pieces, often hand-carried to remote areas. They are assembled, and new owners receive training. The stoves are often shared by multiple families.

Guatemala Cooking Stove Training

In the last 3 years, the Presbytery of Western North Carolina Guatemala Partnership has installed about 200 fuel-efficient stoves in the homes of Sur families. The Guatemala Partnership began in 1994 and includes Five Primary Focus Areas: Church to Church Relationships, Educational Scholarships, Health, Microloans to Women, and “Men in the Mirror”.

The Health Committee of the Guatemala Partnership is currently training 1-2 community health promoters in each church community through bimonthly workshops covering basic illnesses and preventive care, supporting children’s nutrition with funds for snacks, daily multiple vitamins for children 12 and under, and supplying preventive anti-parasitic medicines every 6 months to school age children.

How to donate? Drop your donation in the offering plate or mail check to the church office by July 31, 2023. Make checks payable to Banner Elk Presbyterian Church and mark for “Guatemala Stoves”.

Read more about Arca de Noe.