The Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE: Hunger Relief in Cusco


Have you ever been on a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip to Cusco? If so, you’ll know that this unique Andean city is filled with history, culture, and beauty. You’ll also know that tourism forms a vital part of Cusco’s economy, with visitors coming from all over the world to witness the archaeological wonder of Machu Picchu. During a visit to Cusco, travelers explore its intriguing historical layers, from the regal Incan period and the dark tales of the Spanish conquest to the vibrant tourist hotspot it has become in modern times. In 2020, the city faced yet another historical event: An unprecedented global pandemic. 

Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE - deliveries

As a major tourist hotspot, COVID-19 has created serious difficulties for the many families that once relied on Cusco’s travel industry to make a living. When lockdowns began in March 2020, many tourism & hospitality workers lost their income practically overnight. As international borders closed and travelers rushed back to their home countries, an entire industry was put on hold. Although these measures were necessary to combat the pandemic, their flow-on effects were devastating. From indigenous women working in hospitality to tour guides from rural areas, the global pandemic has hurt those who welcome us when we visit their country. Without an income to keep food on the table, families found themselves facing a major hunger crisis. Even today, 10 months after Peru’s first lockdown, local businesses are still struggling to bounce back. 

Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE - Hunger Relief

The Project 

To help bring hunger relief to households facing food insecurity in Cusco, we’ve partnered with the Intrepid Foundation as part of an exciting new initiative. This partnership grew out of the unprecedented hunger crisis that MEDLIFE witnessed within partner communities and the Intrepid Foundation’s goal of supporting porters, cooks, and wranglers put out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a generous grant from the Intrepid Foundation, we’ve been able to deliver 356 food packages to families who’ve lost income due to COVID-19. Working hand in hand with communities and the Intrepid Foundation, the team made deliveries in areas including Calca, Pisaq, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Maras, and Lamay. This accomplishment is a testament to what we can do when two passionate organizations work together! 

Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE - icons

Checking in with Florentino

During the deliveries, our team had a chance to chat with community members receiving food packages. One conversation that stood out was that with Florentino. 

Previously a cook for Intrepid, Florentino was out of work when tourism was halted in March. But the impact was greater than just one job loss. His whole family and certain members of his community had been employed by way of his work in tourism. Some chopped vegetables, others prepared utensils, and some washed dishes. He even bought much of the produce for his dishes from his community. So when he stopped working, so did they. As they struggled, they started harvesting their land and working in agriculture to make ends meet. But it takes time for things to grow and he told us that the profits are not very good. Thanks to the delivery from the Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE, some relief was provided to Florentino and his family!

 Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE - Florentino

An eternal city

The people of Cusco have overcome many challenges, and we’re certain that this magnificent city will bounce back. In the meantime, let’s continue working together to support families through these unprecedented circumstances! 

Finally, we’d like to say THANK YOU to the Intrepid Foundation for their incredible support! By working together we can reach the most vulnerable communities and make sure we help them through the pandemic.


If your company is interested in sponsoring a hunger relief initiative like the Intrepid Foundation x MEDLIFE project, we encourage you to contact us today! 


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

Testimonial Quote

Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

Testimonial Quote

Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

Testimonial Quote

Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

Testimonial Quote

David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

Testimonial Quote

Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

Testimonial Quote

Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

Testimonial Quote

Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

Testimonial Quote

Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

Testimonial Quote

Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

Testimonial Quote

Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

Testimonial Quote

Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

Testimonial Quote

Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.