Many of us remember “back to school” as a time when we looked forward to new clothes, reuniting with friends, and moving to the next grade level. Others of us remember it as the end of a carefree summer and a return to the tedium of class time and homework.
But the children who benefit from Feed the Hungry’s school meals program have a different perspective: they welcome a return to a daily hot, nutritious meal. And the little ones starting their first year of school look forward to the meals their older siblings have been receiving. For many, this is the best meal they will have that day.
These balanced meals provide more than just a break from hunger. According to the principals in the schools we serve, the disposition of the students improves and they are more alert and able to learn. What’s more, educated children lift up entire communities as they go on to succeed in life.
During the 2022-2023 school year, in our 35 school kitchens, approximately 4,442 children benefited from the hot meals program. On average, 5,297 meals were served daily (in three communities, children received both breakfast and lunch). In the month of May alone, 95,235 meals were served. In addition, mothers received nutritional guidance through home visits, workshops, and educational materials.
Health assessments conducted by our nutritionists confirmed that many of the school children presented physical signs of nutrient deficiency, such as severe dental caries, dry or mottled skin and hair, and reddening of the sclera of the eye. The food we provide and the workshops we offer are tailored to the conditions found in each community.
Statistics about “hunger” don’t always tell the whole story. A growing proportion of the children we support with wholesome meals are not underweight, but are malnourished due to obesity. The expanding availability of junk food in rural communities is a contributing factor. The consumption of cheap processed carbohydrates and caffeinated beverages stave off their hunger pains for a little while—but at a great cost to their health. In children diagnosed as overweight and obese, signs of a hormonal changes are present, which leads to a high probability of developing chronic degenerative diseases.
When school resumes at the end of August, we look forward to seeing the smiles of the children as they reach for their meal trays each day. Your support of Feed the Hungry San Miguel’s school meals program allows us to help provide a brighter future for thousands of needy children, thanks to your generosity.
Please consider donating today!