President’s Letter – April 2021

Al Kocourek

For 37 years, Feed the Hungry San Miguel’s mission has been to alleviate childhood hunger. We provided hot lunches to more than 4,500 disadvantaged children every school day, and our Early Childhood Nutrition program delivered sustenance for children who have been weaned but are not yet in schoola critical developmental stageBoth programs ensure not only a meal today, but a chance at a brighter tomorrow through good health and education. Our focus is on the long-term. 

However, just over one year ago we were challenged to address a more immediate, urgent crisis. We undertook a mission that truly tested our organization’s ability to go above and beyond anything we could have predicted.

When schools officially closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to continue our regular programs. But within two days, we retooled our operations and launched a new program to help people already living in poverty who were now more desperate than ever due to loss of income and illness. Soon other NGOs came to us for help feeding their constituents as well.   

Our plan was simple: keep people from starving. When the coronavirus closed schools and businesses, our constituents didn’t know what this illness was, but they knew that their jobs had gone away. They knew how imminent starvation was, and they were scared.  

Our response was the “Feed the Families” initiative, which started operations on April 1, 2020. For more than a year now, FTH has been dispensing bags of food for 20,000 peoplenearly 900 tons of ingredients, the makings of approximately 10 million meals.  Non-perishable high-protein staples such as lentils, beans, oats, rice, and powdered milk, along with cooking oil and cleaning products, are packaged and delivered every two weeks to recipients in 37 communities and 6 charities. In addition, more than a dozen other advocates pick up food bags for their needy neighbors.  

Each package we distribute is accompanied by simple yet tasty recipes as well as proper hygiene advice. Our nutritionists and chef conduct a continuous series of educational sessions and videos for the communities we service. We also are distributing 1.3 million donated face masks to increase safety throughout the San Miguel municipality. 

I am proud of our organization’s ability to rise to the occasion when change is required. We do not know when we will be able to resume our normal operations, or if we will be challenged with running our school lunch kitchens and the Feed the Families initiative concurrently, for a time, or if we will have the funding and stamina to do so. 

We are encouraged when we see the impact to our communities. It gives meaning to all of the hard work in carrying out this mission. And we are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our donors, who have enabled us to provide more than one million dollar’s worth of aid since March 2020. Visit our Timeline  to learn more about our operations over the past life-changing year. 

Thank you for your support! Together, we are making a differenceone bag of food, one meal, one delivery of hope at a time. 

       – Al Kocourek, President, Feed the Hungry San Miguel, Inc. 

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