…ON THE CHILDREN, THE SCHOOLS, THE COMMUNITIES
“Have you noticed a difference in the children since the Feed the Hungry school-kitchen was opened 6 months ago?”
“Well, they don’t faint and fall out of their chairs anymore.”
This was an actual (and not surprising) conversation between a Feed the Hungry San Miguel Trustee and the principal of a single-room primary school where the majority of the children arrive at school without having had breakfast. For most of them dinner will be a few tortillas.
Since 1984, thousands upon thousands of children who suffered from food deprivation, received a hot nutritious meal every school day. Because they were required to attend school to receive the meal, they also received a basic education. Today 4,000 children continue to benefit from the Feed the Hungry school meals program. In recent years, family nutrition education workshops have been offered to the mothers of these children, encouraging them to participate in improving their children’s health and the health of the entire family.
INTRODUCING COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Through cooperative programs with other NGOs, school library/community centers have been built in two communities; English classes and scholarships to secondary schools and university are provided by a volunteer corps in one village; independent NGOs provide scholarships in other communities, refurbish donated computers and create labs in schools that have the infrastructure to support them; water catchment systems have been built at several schools to harvest rainwater; and a dental van visits each community twice a year. In January 2014, through their own volition, women in one community created a sewing co-op where they make the uniforms that the children are required to wear in order to attend school. Recently they contracted with other villages and are also beginning to work for local businesses.
More than 300 families have been introduced to vegetable and herb gardens and are building grey water filtration systems to support their family garden. Materials are provided and members of the community provide the labor. 50 of these gardens are producing more vegetables and herbs than their extended families can consume – 20 women from this group of 50 are participating in a “community market” pilot program with the hopes of bringing some income to the family.
Feed the Hungry San Miguel is grateful to Apoyo a Gente Emprendedora, CASA, Computadoras para Jovenes, Community Church of San Miguel, Huertos Sustenables de San Miguel, Los Ricos Teachers Group, Patronato Pro Niños, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, The San Miguel Garden Club, and especially the women of the villages for their vision, cooperation, and support in these ongoing programs.
OUR GREATEST IMPACT
When we open a kitchen, we promise to stay as long as the community needs us to. It is that kept promise that has fostered the trust that allows Feed the Hungry San Miguel to introduce new programs through our community development partners to the villages where Feed the Hungry San Miguel operates school-kitchens. Our growth has been slow but steady… “poco a poco”.
In summary, Feed the Hungry San Miguel’s 30+ year positive track record of improving the quality of life of needy children and their families is tangible evidence of the sustainability of our program. During this time period, Feed the Hungry San Miguel’s Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers have demonstrated their ability to operate a highly efficient and effective community development model. As an organization, we expect to strengthen and expand our services to San Miguel’s disadvantaged rural and urban populations for many years to come.
We cannot continue our work without your help… please give as much and as often as you can.