Back to School—to Learn and to Thrive

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FEED THE HUNGRY

By Donna Fullerton

For thousands of children in the San Miguel municipality, “back to school” signifies more than returning to classes—it also means a break from hunger.

Feed the Hungry San Miguel currently operates school kitchens that provide over 4,000 hot, balanced meals every school day (nearly 900,000 meals per year!). For many of the students, this school lunch is their only meal of the day. At some schools, Feed the Hungry now provides a light breakfast as well, because the children arrive at school—some after a very long walk—so tired and hungry that they can’t wait until lunch.

Real results for a better future

A nutritious meal can make a huge difference in a child’s development, self-esteem, motivation, and ability to learn. In addition to school meals, Feed the Hungry provides family nutrition education, consultations with mothers, cooking classes, and regular assessments by staff nutritionists. For example, when Feed the Hungry opened a new school kitchen at the Santa Teresita De Don Diego elementary school, benchmark evaluations revealed that only 37% of the students were at normal weight. The next year, height, weight, body fat, and muscle tone measurements showed a 24% improvement in the physical condition of those children.

A mother of four, who volunteers at the school kitchen in Nuevo Pantoja, exclaimed, “This morning my little boy was so excited to go to school, saying, ‘Today some señores are going to feed us!’ He was so happy. It feels like a dream to see the children eat.” Another mother there told us, “If families don’t have any food, then they don’t send the kids to school. This will help so much to keep the kids in school.”

A teacher at the Emiliano Zapata kindergarten in the community of Ejido de Tirado said that her students there are more “awake” and cheerful, with more dynamism and energy. She notices that some of the children, when presented with their school meal, practically devour it—because they’re not being well-fed at home.

Mariela, a student in the fifth grade in the Clavellinas community, had this to say during our recent visit to her school: “The food they give us here at the school has vegetables and fruits, and that makes us strong!”

Breaking the cycle of poverty through well-fed, educated children

For a child, nutrition is a crucial first step to a productive future. Children will never reach their potential if they are malnourished.

When the children return to school in August, please help ensure that we can continue to provide fresh, well-balanced school meals to the poorest of the poor, and break the cycle of poverty through educated children.

Just US$20 will feed two children for a month. Imagine what larger donations can accomplish! Please visit our website to learn how to make a US, Mexico, or Canada tax-deductible donation: feedthehungrysma.org (where it is also easy to set up a recurring donation).

You can make a difference to a child, a family, and a deserving community’s future.

 

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