Hope Requires Teamwork–A Story from Honduras

At Feed the Children, our mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials. We make that happen by partnering with a variety of organizations to provide food, supplies and medication to the people we serve. But our work involves so much more than a handout.

*01-2016HN0014 Marcia Lendo-5Take Marcia, a seven year old living in a desert community in Honduras. Marcia’s is a small village, dealing with extreme poverty. There are more families here than there are houses for them. Marcia’s family is one of the lucky ones, though. Their modest home is built on concrete and actually has running water, a latrine and electricity.

But life is still tough for the family. Marcia lives with her mother and siblings, including an older brother who works and helps with expenses. Her mother works as a housekeeper. Her father is not in the picture.

Their diet consists of tortillas, beans, rice, cheese, and eggs, plus meat when they can get it. But there have been days when they didn’t have enough food. They’ve sometimes had to beg for food from strangers. Her mother has brought in extra laundry to make more money.

Today, Feed the Children operates a Feeding Center in Marcia’s community, which provides five warm and nutritious meals a week for 130 children. We’ve also worked with government and other entities to make sure kids like Marcia receive deworming medication every six months, plus other vitamin supplementation which keeps kids healthy. We also help provide prenatal care for pregnant women, and follow-up care for six months following the birth.

“There have been many changes,” Marcia says. “Mothers and children get ill less, thanks to the support of the Feeding Center and the vitamins given there.”

We’re proud of our work in villages like Marcia’s. But we’re especially proud of the way the community comes together to take ownership of helping change things for the better. Feed the Children provides more than food and vitamins—we do the community development work necessary to help families lift themselves out of poverty.

For example, our feeding centers are staffed by volunteers working together, usually mothers. These volunteers receive training on a range of topics, including nutrition, so they have the knowledge they need to help their kids thrive. That knowledge is power.

According to Irma Rodriguez, Feed the Children Community Development Coordinator in Honduras, “The mothers’ support is vital and very valuable. They are the ones responsible for the meal preparation five days a week. Besides that, they prepare administrative reports of the expenses from the Feeding Center.”

Rodriguez adds that the mothers have taken it upon themselves to organize into teams so be more effective. “Each group has a coordinator, and all of the groups receive training and education. The mothers have learned teamwork, and are working together for the entire community.”

As a single mother of three, Marcia’s mother has plenty to do already. But she gives her time and energy to the Feeding Center because she knows it will help not only her own children, but others in her community.

That’s what it’s all about—communities working together, with Feed the Children providing resources, support, and encouragement.

You can stand with Marcia’s family and so many like her. Click here to find out more about supporting our work.

 

Merry Christmas from Around the World!

“This is your day, and we are here to celebrate with you.”

That was Rhoda Njue, Child Sponsorship Coordinator for the Feed the Children office in Kenya, speaking to children as she welcomed them to Christmas celebrations. Christmas came early for thousands of kids around the world, thanks to our dedicated staff and donors and supporters like you who made joyful celebrations and parties happen in the communities we serve.

Our mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials. Essentials include necessities like food, clean drinking water, quality education, and a possibility for a good livelihood.

But joy is also essential.
Dignity is essential.
And for children, play is essential.

That’s why events like Christmas celebrations are so important. The children we serve are our heroes. They strive and struggle in ways that are hard for many of us to imagine. Holiday celebrations are a chance to let kids be kids, to set aside the chores, responsibilities and worries of everyday life.

You are an indispensable part of our work. When you make a gift to Feed the Children, you help ensure that we’ll be able to serve even more kids next year, giving them access to nutritious meals, sanitation, and opportunities for joy as well.

Here are just a few highlights of Christmas celebrations in our communities, with reflections written by staff in these regions.

 

HONDURAS

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Many of us spend our Christmas by giving gifts to friends, families and loved ones. Christmas is a time to spread joy and smiles, and Feed the Children does this in our sponsored communities. The celebrations started early this year, because some areas are so remote and hard to access when it rains–the rivers overflow, making it impossible to access some communities.

In the Nueva Esperanza community, some 99 children enjoyed a festive meal of fried chicken, rice, apples and salad.

And at the Community of La Cumbre Palmichal, more than 300 children were given a t-shirt, an apple, a bag of candy, and a healthy meal.

The glow on the childrens’ faces was memorable, as many of them don’t celebrate Christmas this time of year. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our wonderful sponsors and donors. Thank you.

-Mayra Humphrey

 

KENYA

-Kajiado Childrens Party -4-

Christmas came early for over 7,000 school children from 61 schools in Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana and Nairobi Counties. The celebrations were held on different days in November and early December before the close of the academic year, to celebrate kids under the Child Sponsorship program.

Elation was in the air as children performed, played games, and enjoyed specially prepared meals. Participating schools also received presents from Feed the Children, to great excitement from the kids.

And at the Dagoretti Children’s Center and Abandoned Baby Center, holidays are celebrated all month long with a whole calendar of activities, including a bounce castle, face painting, special story time, and BBQ and hot dogs on New Year’s Eve.

-Edna Onchiri

 

GUATEMALA

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Throughout the month of December, the Guatemalan team has been celebrating Christmas with the children in all thirteen of our communities. For some, we received donations of Domino’s Pizza to share with the children. They were so excited—many of the children rarely get to eat pizza!

In other communities, the mothers pitched in some money and with help from Feed the Children, made tamales, which are traditional to eat during Christmas. In a few communities we were accompanied by volunteers who dressed as clowns and helped organize games and do face-painting with the children. All in all we had a lot of fun and hope we helped these children enjoy a special day. More than 1,690 were benefited in our communities.

-Claire Mocha

 

EL SALVADOR

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When we think about celebrating Christmas, we think about what we can do for those we love: the hours spent shopping for gifts for loved ones; the extravagantly-prepared Christmas dinners we will share with our families. But it isn’t the same for people the world over. During these seasons, it is easy to forget that not everyone can take these comforts for granted the way we do. Some people around the world still live without access to reliable electricity and will spend Christmas in the dark. Too many parents are unable to afford a toy for their children.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

So this year in the community of La Lechera, Christmas came early, with people in El Salvador cooking for our 92 registered children on December 14th. These children were able to have a brighter Christmas with a nutritious meal and toys galore. Our field staff joined in the fun by participating in games such as three-legged race and pop-the-balloon.

Child Sponsorship Coordinator Meylin Quan was grateful for the chance to bring a little Christmas to these children on behalf of all of us: “I’m so happy because we were able to sprinkle some joy into these children’s lives.”

-Mayra Humphrey

~

What will Christmas 2016 be like for these children? The answer is largely up to you. Consider sponsoring a child, or consider a gift from our catalog, or make a one-time gift to help alleviate our shortfall.

And Merry Christmas!

 

A Superabundance of Shoes!

We at Feed the Children are grateful for our ongoing partnership with TOMS and excited to share photos and details from our latest shoe distribution event.

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The event took place in Intibucá, Honduras, the mountainous region of the country. Intibucá registers the lowest temperatures in the country, making it ideal for growing all kinds of vegetables. Many women here use hand constructed wooden looms to produce traditional Lenca woven textiles such as ponchos, scarves, and shawls. And many enterprising individuals gather the fallen pine needles from the surrounding forests and weave them into sturdy and decorative baskets, potholders, and vases.

Still, the rates of poverty and child malnutrition in this area remain too high. Over time, Feed the Children has been developing relationships and deepening our capacity in the region. Most of these initiatives have supported our Health pillar. For example, we’ve partnered to provide Vitamin A and deworming treatments for children. We’ve distributed soccer balls (footballs) so that kids have quality equipment with which to play—helping build strong bodies, self-esteem, and positive relationships.

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TOMS shoe distribution is a key component in this ongoing community-building effort. All told, more than 40,000 pairs of good-quality canvas shoes have been distributed in the cities of Intibucá, Jesus de Otoro, Yamaranguila, San Juan and San Francisco de Opalaca. More than 160,000 pairs have been distributed in Honduras as a whole.

“Each delivery in each city is completely different, but the children in mountainous areas of Intibucá face particular hardship,” said Aaron Alonzo, Regional Donations Project Coordinator for Feed the Children Honduras. “The children’s feet were dirty because they have to cross muddy roads, even small creeks to get to school. Once they put on a new pair of shoes, the faces of the children seemed to glow! They were in pure bliss, jumping up and down with joy because they had a new pair of shoes.”

We’re proud to work with TOMS and are grateful for their generosity in Intibucá and so many places around the globe.

A Big Word of Thanks

As the United States prepares to gather around Thanksgiving tables this week, many of us feel thankful for the abundance of blessings in our lives. Families will gather, tables will be set, hands will be clasped and words of gratitude shared.

Yet we know that half a world away, and right in our own communities, people still struggle to eke out a living or to put enough food on the table.
One in seven children around the world are hurt by the scourge of poverty.
Three thousand children under age 5 die every day from diseases that come from dirty water.

Sometimes the news is so bad, it’s tempting to tune out. We turn on cable news, or even our social media feeds, and the stories can assault our senses.

The challenges we face as a people can seem overwhelming, and too often it feels like progress is impossible.

It’s a privilege to work with people just like you—people who share out of their abundance, and in some cases their poverty, to make sure children around the world have a box of food, or a backpack full of fresh new school supplies, or a pair of sturdy shoes, or a nutritious hot meal at school each day. On this day of Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for you.

The needs of our neighbors around the world and around the corner seem greater than we can manage. But as Mother Theresa put it, “We can do no great things, just small things with great love.” And those small things add up—we see it happen every day. It’s in the couple who sponsors a child, or the twenty-something who rolls up her sleeves to pack food boxes, or the child who uses his allowance to buy a water purification kit for a family he’ll never even meet.

These small acts of goodness give us hope and make our work possible. But even more importantly, these gifts actually work to stem the tide of poverty and malnutrition. Internationally, in fiscal year 2014, Feed the Children distributed 20 million pounds of food, medicine, and other necessities valued at $78 million to children and families in 18 countries, benefiting over 4.9 million individuals globally. Around the world, close to 263,000 children are fully engaged in our child-focused food and nutrition programs, which regularly provide nutritious meals to children who may otherwise go an entire day without eating. Last year, Feed the Children sponsored over 11,500 children, addressing the root causes of poverty through child sponsorship and school sponsorship.

In addition to our donors, we’re thankful today to work side by side with incredible communities, families and children who dream big dreams for a life beyond poverty, and who are willing to work hard to make those dreams a reality. Consider Ashly, a five-year-old from Honduras. We’ve been partnering with her community since 2007; the partnership began with an AIDS prevention project and has grown and flourished over the years.

In 2011, Feed the Children inaugurated a Community Feeding Center and stocked it with kitchen supplies, a stove, benches and chairs, and food supplies. The Feeding Center is run by mothers in the community and it provides more than 400 children a hot meal 5 times a week. Ashly and her siblings are provided with two pairs of TOMS shoes a year, and last year the children received vitamins which helped improve their general health. Such assistance greatly alleviates the economic burden at home, but more importantly, it can help break the cycle of poverty by providing Ashly and other children a chance for a more stable and fruitful life.

Ashly and her mother.
Ashly and her mother.

Ashly’s mother is overwhelmed with gratitude: “This program has been a blessing to the whole community. Feed the Children really cares about our children’s welfare.” And Ashly says, “My mother can now buy more food for our family thanks to Feed the Children.”

On behalf of Ashly, and children around the world—thank you.

As we enter this season of giving and joy, you have an opportunity to support children just like Ashly, around the world and close to home. This Tuesday, December 1 is Giving Tuesday, and you’re invited to stand with us to help end child hunger once and for all. Each of our small actions will combine to make a big impact. Visit www.crowdrise.com/feedthechildren-tower to make your donation. And share this opportunity with your friends on social media and ask them to join you.

Gratitude upon gratitude.
Gift by gift—
We will make a difference.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

“Thank You 4Life!” Twelve-Year-Old Mercy Brings Greetings and Inspiration to Foundation 4Life Convention

Imagine flying on an airplane for the first time, bound for a foreign country you’ve never visited, to give a speech to 7,000 people who speak eight different languages.

Now imagine doing that at the age of twelve.

Last month, twelve-year-old Mercy was selected to represent Honduras and her community at the 4Life International Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Foundation 4Life has been a partner with Feed the Children since 2010 and has supported our Food & Nutrition programs in several countries. In addition, Foundation 4Life has adopted two communities to provide everything from school supplies and new classrooms to projects supporting livelihood development.

Mercy’s adventure began on the airplane, her first ever, during which she peered out the window at cities, rivers and even rooftop swimming pools—a very different vantage point from her usual one from a car, bicycle or on foot in her community.

During her layover in Miami, Florida, Mercy experienced firsthand the cultural melting pot of hair and skin color, wardrobe, tattoos and body piercings that exists in the United States—sights and experiences she had only imagined or seen on TV.

B4SeZhVBdY7u4XdAdAnj8WKJYCWjc-SJ77uCqSE5GgsOnce in Salt Lake City, Utah, the host city for Bring Dreams Home: 4Life International Convention, Mercy was given the royal treatment—a hotel room with a view, meals from restaurants and many exciting adventures. Her favorite experience was seeing penguins, sea otters and other sea creatures at the Living Planet Aquarium. Although she missed the comfortable heat of her native Honduras, she was very excited to feel the fresh snow that fell during her visit and covered the ground like a “white carpet.” Like so many girls her age, she captured the experience with lots of photos and selfies, and she made fast friends with Bea, another teen ambassador who was bringing greetings and thanks to 4Life on behalf of her community in the Philippines.

Heidy Mejia, Regional Communications Specialist in Honduras for Feed the Children, accompanied Mercy to Salt Lake City. In her account of the trip, Heidy wrote, “Seeing Mercy enjoy experiences that many people consider normal—boarding a train, an airplane, an elevator; opening the room of the hotel with a card instead of a key; automatic water faucets, a nice bed, a bathroom with warm water in the mornings; cornflakes with chocolate milk, a good piece of cake—you realize how great these simple pleasures can be when you aren’t used to them.” Heidy also marveled at the ways Mercy and Bea became immediate friends and could communicate with one another despite not speaking a common language.

FUnYZfX-8lAQ0pDatTkpSK1fdwjMQ1aykLr4AeGInOI-NL9mzJEtUiztCUWa5LGp5n1Otvp2leWaFjQqR9UNqjYWhen it came time for Mercy to speak during the convention, she stood on the stage with Bianca Lisonbee, 4Life Co-Founder and Vice Chairwoman of the Board, and Cynthia Gerlinger, winner of the “At the Heart of it” service award. The theme of the 4Life convention was “Bring Dreams Home,” and Mercy brought that message to life as she thanked the gathering for supporting her community through development projects, education and food:

Good afternoon 4Life! My name is Mercy and I’m from Honduras.

Thanks to your donations, the school in my community has a feeding center, a vegetable garden, a recycle center, new bathrooms, an incinerator and two new classrooms!

There are a lot of children, mothers and families who benefit from the donations that you make to Foundation 4Life.

You are the answers to our prayers. Your donations are the progress of my community.

I dream of becoming a doctor someday and, like you, help other people. Thank you for everything you do… THANK YOU 4LIFE!

WSfJNkLWXmZESiTY2jhtN7ZyIQK7ZF2HJofSWjvfmTo-1rwlQj20Q5y1w0OnH9nUycqBVRxtSeuSjJqRAy6GXV8“From the moment of her speech, she was an instant celebrity,” wrote Heidy. “People wanted to take pictures with her and talk to her. People gave her a lot of advice, asked her many questions about her experience with Foundation 4Life, and told her to reach for her dreams to help others.”

“All these memories and experiences were possible thanks to the support of Foundation 4Life, the people who donate to the foundation, and Feed the Children,” said Heidy. “People think that they are helping a hungry child with food, but it’s more than that. More than they can imagine.”

 

Christmas Cheer in Honduras

Throughout the world, we champion children. We work with teachers, principals, mayors and religious leaders to help children thrive in their schools, homes and communities.

But did you know that we run two full-time residential centers in Kenya and Honduras for boys and girls who are abandoned or whose parents are unable to care for them?

When it is possible, we seek to reunite children with their families. But many of the kids continue to be under our supervision until they turn 18. What a great responsibility it is to care for them; for they are ours!

DSC_0526For this reason, our President and CEO, Kevin Hagan feels it is important for him to celebrate Christmas at these two centers every December. He wants the kids to know the joy of Christmas like all kids should!

Recently, we told you about Kevin’s visit to Kenya, but today we want to share more about the Christmas celebrations at Casa del Nino in La Ceiba, Honduras.

At Casa del Nino, Feed the Children Honduras cares for 35 boys from age 7-17 every day of the year. Some of these boys have come to us through Honduran social services. Others have come through referrals in communities where we work. But together they have formed a family.

IMG_2194And one of the year’s highlights for the boys of Casa del Nino is the annual Christmas celebration.

On Wednesday, December 17, the boys and staff,  Regional Director for Latin American operations Francisco Torres and Kevin and his wife, Elizabeth Hagan gathered around tables in the courtyard of Casa del Nino for gift giving, music and a Christmas feast.

Each boy asked for just one present. They were elated to receive their single gift –simply new shoes to play soccer or a remote control car.

Before dinner, the boys shared prayers, songs and even a skit with the group. They expressed their appreciation to all the Feed the Children donors for giving them a safe place to call home over the last year.

Christmas dinner was extra special because it was prepared by some of the older boys themselves. These boys are interested in becoming chefs when they grow up, and we’ve enrolled them in culinary classes for the last five months.

So, with some assistance from their teachers, the boys prepared a traditional Honduran Christmas meal: tamales, chicken and pork, yellow rice, potatoes, tomato, pepper and cucumber salad and rolls.

After dinner, each boy and staff member received a glow stick necklace and bracelet! As you can see the boys posed proudly for pictures with them on.

Even though it soon started raining, joy at Casa del Nino was uncontainable. They played with their new toys. They laughed and laughed with the staff members. And they gave Kevin Hagan lots of hugs. Even one boy said, “Thanks for remembering us at Christmas. It feels good that we aren’t forgotten.”

IMG_1736 2A DJ later played some traditional Honduran Christmas songs and the group danced and danced and danced. Some of the boys had their faces painted. The staff joined in with the children as well. One staff member later remarked, “This is what Christmas is really all about!”

Their faces overflowed with gratitude for such a fun Christmas celebration. Thank you Feed the Children donors and child sponsors for making moments like this possible.IMG_9014

New Feeding Center Opens in Honduras Thanks to the Band Sister Hazel and Their Fans

We have long been partners with the band Sister Hazel. They make a unique kind of music that blends country and rock’n’roll harmonies with Southern pop. They’ve dubbed their fans “Hazelnuts” and for several years now, the guys in the band and their fans have sponsored children in Honduras.

Children Living In a Dump

Three years ago, Sister Hazel visited the community where their sponsored children live. Los Laureles is situated at the base of a huge dump which young and old alike scour for plastic and metal items to sell to recycling. Most of the homes are built out of garbage: nylon, cardboard, tin sheets and any other material they can find. Very few houses are built with cement blocks. Some of the houses are built high up on a plateau of the community, and because of the uneven and steep terrain, are very difficult to get to. None of these homes have indoor plumbing.

rough uneven terrain

Before Feed the Children arrived here, food supplies were very irregular. A church would provide 2 meals a week, and the government distributed some basic staples like rice, corn, and beans, but done in very basic conditions. The kids were malnourished, anemic, and riddled with parasites.

We asked a mom about what those days were like. Gennis is the mother of 5, including a first-grader named Kimberly. Gennis explained, “My children many times attended classes with only one cup of coffee in their stomach because I didn’t have anything else to give.”

Feed the Children’s Work with Los Laureles

Before Sister Hazel adopted the community in 2012, Feed the Children had worked for several years with help from generous partners, including TOMSVitamin Angels, and others, to provide nourishing food, medical care, vitamins, backpacks and school supplies, clothes and shoes, and improvements to the school facilities.

When Sister Hazel visited, they connected with the people of Los Laureles in such a profound way that the guys returned to the USA fired up about doing something BIG to help the community become independent.

Two years ago, Sister Hazel challenged the Hazelnuts to do two things: sponsor every one of the 221 children in Los Laureles, a goal they reached in December 2013, and raise the $75,000 needed to build a real feedingcenter for the community. This new facility will be a sturdy and permanent building with a steady supply of safe drinking water, a real kitchen, and soap and water for basic hygiene.

The Hazelnuts came through in a BIG way. Within a year, they’d raised the money!

In December 2013, our president and CEO Kevin Hagan, along with his wife Elizabeth, visited Los Laureles for the groundbreaking of the new feeding center.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that the new center is open! Sister Hazel returned to the community to witness the transformation there and to celebrate the feeding center’s grand opening.

Grand Opening Festivities

ribbon cutting at the feeding center

sister hazel tshirt frontthanks sister hazel and donors

 

 

karen sees a camera

moms in the new kitchen

water purifier in feeding center

kids in the new feeding center

If you’re familiar with Sister Hazel, or if you want to get to know their music, they’re releasing a special anniversary collection to celebrate 20 years of award-winning music. The album, 20 STAGES, includes live recordings, videos culled from 20 of the band’s favorite venues, and 3 brand new, never released tracks. 20 Stages is available now on iTunes & Amazon, in select Best Buy stores as well as Sister Hazel’s official online merch store

Love Notes Delivered, Part Two

Back in February, we asked our readers to post comments of love and support for the children who live in our orphanages in Kenya and Honduras. Your response was amazing! We loved sharing your gifts of words with our children.

A month ago, we posted an update from Kenya showing you some of the beautiful smiles of kids who received your notes. Today, we have photos from letter delivery in Central America.

We support a boys’ orphanage near Barrio Ingles, La Ceiba, Honduras, thanks to our donors. Casa del Niño is a safe home for between 30-40 boys aged 6-17. Here, loving caregivers surround the boys with encouragement. In this home, they can dream about a better life with real hope that it will happen. The boys go to school knowing their school fees will be paid. They come home to a hot meal and clean bathroom. The boys say they love Casa del Niño because, “It’s a place where I’ll always have everything I need.”

With your help, boys like these in Honduras have hope.

Thank you again for sharing your love notes with them! IMG_0652

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Water Equals Life

The numbers are staggering. The UN talks about “the bottom billion” — that’s billion with a B. This is the segment of the world’s population that urgently needs access to clean water and sanitation services and electricity.

According to UNWater:

“Worldwide, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources, and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation.”

world water day infographic

It can be difficult to wrap our minds around numbers as large as these. Hundreds of millions of people…a couple of billion people — this sounds impossible.

When a problem seems too big, we focus on the individuals, families, and communities where clean water and sanitation have changed (and saved) lives.

water line blog crop

In most of the communities served by Feed the Children in Central America, families do not have daily access to running water. They have to walk long distances to rivers or springs to get water to drink, cook, wash clothes, and bathe. Most of them do not have toilets; instead, they use latrines that they can’t clean with water.

water on heads blog crop

We can do something about this, one community at a time, one school at a time. We’re bringing clean water and sanitation to people who have suffered from parasites, diarrhea, and other water-borne illnesses their entire lives.

Jeimy in hospital crib blog

In the community of Jardines del Norte in Honduras, children used to become so malnourished from the parasites living in their bodies that they had to be admitted to the hospital for months at a time.

Jeimy is the youngest of seven children born to Karen and Juan. Her father has been unable to find a steady job, and her mother stays home to care for the children. When Jeimy was four months old, she became so desperately ill that she was admitted to a nutrition center. It took seven months for her to become stable. Today she is almost two years old and already has logged numerous visits to the hospital emergency room for treatment for multiple parasites.

hands and water blog

In addition to helping provide Jeimy the medication and nutrition she needs to remain stable, Feed the Children recently helped her community dig a well. The well is located at the perimeter wall of the community school, and the entire community is able to fill jugs and buckets of water to use for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

It is still a far cry from the indoor plumbing we take for granted in our own homes, but children and their families are grateful to have a secure, reliable, and safe source of water available.

girl water pitcher blog crop

Today, many other improvements are visible in this community. Men attend a carpentry school in a nearby community where they learn to build sturdy and beautiful furniture. The school provides hot meals five days a week to children who did not have a reliable source of food before. None of this could have happened without safe drinking water.

Bryan drinking water blog

We are repeating the same story all over the region. Feed the Children–El Salvador has installed running water in the community of El Guayabo, improving the status of an entire school of 600 children. In the community of La Labor,  Feed the Children–El Salvador installed a water filter to provide access to potable water for 150 children and their families.

This World Water Day, take a moment to consider how you could help bring water and change the life of one of the “bottom billion.”

TOMS and Feed the Children Bring Smiles to Honduras

Shoes and Hunger

Feed the Children has learned many lessons while pursuing our mission across 23 countries. Among the most important: countless factors contribute to poverty, and they are all interconnected. We can bring nutritious meals, clean water, and education to a child, but all that progress can be halted by one unforeseen event.

A difficult roadblock on the path to health are the infections and diseases children contract when they don’t have shoes to protect their feet. Parasites can easily invade a shoeless child and steal all the nutrition our food provides. Feed the Children administers medicine that fights these parasites, but it’s vital to prevent the child from contracting them in the first place.

Help from TOMS

TOMS knows the central role adequate footwear plays in long-term wellbeing. Through their One for One concept, every pair of  shoes TOMS sells means a pair of new shoes is given to a child in need. And it doesn’t happen just once — in partnership with Feed the Children, TOMS is committed to continue helping kids as they develop and grow.

Feed the Children, a TOMS Shoes Giving Partner, distributes shoes to school children about twice a year. Last month, we had the pleasure of giving the shoes to children in our Honduras education programs while giving the Honduras Minister of Education a tour of these schools.

The children’s smiles told the story as they happily received their new shoes.

The children lined up to greet Francisco Torres of Feed the Children - Honduras, as he brought some very special guests on a tour of schools participating in the Feed the Children Honduras Education program.
Schoolchildren lined up to greet Francisco Torres of Feed the Children – Honduras and his very special guests.
The children created signs and decorations to welcome their honored guest, Marlon Escoto, the Minister of Education of Honduras.
The children created signs and decorations to welcome their honored guest, Marlon Escoto, the Minister of Education of Honduras.
Feed the Children staff organized the new pairs of TOMS as Minister of Education Escoto helped by measuring the children’s feet.
Feed the Children staff organized the new pairs of TOMS as Minister of Education Escoto helped by measuring the children’s feet.
Our staff repeated the process throughout the day as Mr. Escoto and the staff brought the shoes to children at several Honduran schools.
Our staff repeated the process throughout the day as Mr. Escoto and the staff brought the shoes to children at several Honduran schools.
New TOMS = smiles!
New TOMS = happy faces!
As he walked through the community, Minister of Education Escoto was greeted by children wearing their new pairs of TOMS.
As he walked through the community, Minister of Education Escoto was greeted by children wearing their new pairs of TOMS.
The children in this preschool are much less susceptible to disease and nutrition-robbing parasites with their new shoes.
The children in this preschool are much less susceptible to disease and nutrition-robbing parasites with their new shoes.

School-based Meals Bring and Keep Children in School

In addition to receiving new shoes, the minister of education joined the children for the meal provided by the Feed the Children education program.
In addition to receiving new shoes, the minister of education joined the children for the meal provided by the Feed the Children education program.
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350,000 children are fully engaged in our child-focused programs, which provide nutritious meals every school day.
As part of his visit, Minister of Education Escoto thanked the mothers who volunteer to help Feed the Children prepare healthy nourishing food.
As part of his visit, Minister of Education Escoto thanked the mothers who volunteer to help Feed the Children prepare healthy nourishing food.
He also visited a school’s thriving vegetable garden, a good example of Feed the Children’s Four Pillar approach to poverty.
He also visited a school’s thriving vegetable garden, a good example of Feed the Children’s Four Pillar approach to poverty.

The Four Pillars address food and nutrition, water and sanitation, health and education, and livelihood development, all with the goal of helping people out of the cycle of poverty.

At the end of his visit, Minister of Education Escoto met with the staff of Feed the Children – Honduras.
At the end of his visit, Minister of Education Escoto met with the staff of Feed the Children – Honduras.

Cooperation between Feed the Children, local government, and generous companies like TOMS multiplies the positive effects we have on a community.

With nutritious food to sustain them, shoes to help protect them from infections, and education to guide them through tomorrow, these children in Honduras have the opportunity to improve their circumstances in ways that will last for generations.

Your support of Feed the Children continues to make it possible.