Jeremy Wainwright stands on a hill overlooking a part of Honduras. He hopes to raise funds to begin a shrimp farm there to produce food for the people in its area, as well as provide funds for them. (Contributed photo)

Jeremy Wainwright, left, and Agustin Garcia are planning a sustainable way to help the citizens of Honduras. Funds are needed to support the project. (Contributed photo)

By Richard Rourk

Jeremy Wainwright has done mission work in Honduras and what he has seen is a group of people who want to make life better.

“There’s a misconception about these groups of people,” Wainwright told The Erwin Record. “These people don’t want to leave; they love their countries. They have no other choice; they want to stay home, but just don’t have the means.”

Wainwright, a member of Northridge Community Church in Erwin, went to Honduras in October 2018. While in Honduras, Wainwright met a man named Agustin Garcia, who worked construction there for years, before helping the missionaries as a translator.

“Agustin started out as a translator, and quickly was trained to hold eye clinics in Honduras,” Wainwright said. “(Garcia) received basic training and equipment from Dr. Pat Reardon of Florida.”

When Wainwright came back home he began planning for a long-term solution to what he saw in Honduras.

“While in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, you could see that a lot of people in the mountainous terrain needed help,” Wainwright said. “You could see the poverty and makeshift housing all through the hills.”

According to Wainwright, he began researching what it would take to start a tilapia farm and he knew exactly who to contact in Honduras.

“I knew that Agustin was the person to contact with this, Wainwright said. “He cares so much about helping the people there and is so passionate about it.”

After speaking with Garcia, the pair decided that a shrimp farm would be more feasible than a tilapia farm. Wainwright and Garcia asked for and received estimates for what it would cost to start a self-sustaining shrimp farm that cannot only produce food for the poverty-stricken area of Honduras, but would also generate money to help with resources to help relieve those stuck in the cycle of poverty.

“We have found land that has two saltwater ponds,” Wainwright said. “The lease would be $1,234 for four months. For 200,000 shrimp larvae that would fill the two ponds, it would cost $825. The food for the shrimp would cost $500. This would give us four months, which happens to be the same time it takes to raise the shrimp.”

Wainwright acknowledged that there would be a few more startup costs.

“To run the operation, we would need to hire three full-time workers that are currently unemployed. To pay them more than minimum wage would cost roughly $3,456 for the full four months,” Wainwright said. “That comes down to less than $300 a month for each employee. If nothing else this gives three people employment and impacts their lives in a tremendous way.”

Wainwright and his network are attempting to raise $7,482 to cover the total expenses to get the project up and going. According to Wainwright’s calculations, the return on investment should yield $14,000 to help the people of Honduras.

According to Wainwright, the $14,000 would be used for reinvestment and other various projects.

“We plan to use money generated from the shrimp farm to build homes for the homeless, dig wells for clean water or find ways to filter water effectively, feed the hungry, and there are many other possibilities,” Wainwright said. “It costs approximately $2,000 to build a home, so the shrimp farm has the potential to build many homes in the future.”

According to Sarah Kohnle, managing Editor at Missouri State Teachers Association, Wainwright has already reached $1,600 toward his goal of $7,482. One giver wasn’t even a regular attendee at his church, but she had an incredible story to share.

“One woman walked up to me shaking and told me her story,” Wainwright said. “She said that the day before she had paid forward for a woman that could not afford her shrimp cocktail at Red Lobster. A gentleman next to her noticed her generosity and gave her $100. She insisted that she didn’t need the money; however, he told her to keep it and pay forward for something else. As he walked away, he looked at her and said, ‘shrimp matters.’ After hearing my story about shrimp farming and asking for $100 she was completely blown away about how specific God was speaking to her. She gave me the $100 that she was given the day before.”

If you are interested in contributing or to find out more about the sustainable shrimp farm project and how you can help, please contact Jeremy Wainwright at 388-9356, gjkwainwright@outlook.com or by mail at 522 Dear Haven Road, in Unicoi.