Feed the Children Helps Teachers Too

Kids in the US are more than hungry.

While important, food will not satisfy all their needs.

Kids need to learn, in good schools, with well-prepared teachers—teachers who can offer kids every tool they need to grow into a successful future.

Feed the Children walks alongside teachers to help make this happen, as much as we are able.

Thanks to generous partners like the Office Depot Foundation, for the past three years, we’ve operated a Teacher Store within our distribution warehouse in Oklahoma City. (We have recently opened similar stores near Nashville, Tennessee and Elkhart, Indiana as well).

Two afternoons a week during the school year, the Teacher Store opens for instructors to shop for free for their classroom. They are given reusable bags to fill with whatever supplies they feel they need. They find everything from sets of books for reading groups, to markers, labels, bulletin board materials and classroom furniture, all available on a first come, first served basis. Feed the Children staff members greet each teacher and assist as needed.

IMG_1494Charme and JoAnn, teachers at Shawnee Early Learning Center in Shawnee, OK have been coming to the Feed the Children Teacher Store for the past two years. They both say that their kindergarten classrooms are better equipped to help kids learn thanks to the supplies from the Teacher Store.

Charme told us, “With budget cuts, money is tight at our school. Often we are spending our own money to buy supplies. But thanks to the Teacher Store, we are doing less and less of this!”

JoAnn added, “We love coming here because we can give our kids so many more opportunities to learn.”

Once a month, the teachers can return to shop again. Many do, and they bring their colleagues.

Debbie, a kindergarten teacher at Windsor Hills Elementary in Oklahoma City says she loves coming to the Teacher Store because, “The selection is great, IMG_1497.JPGespecially the books. I find so many things here that I don’t have to buy on my own.”

The sad truth is that many kids in America arrive at school without the most basic supplies. How can children learn without paper, pens, computers, and books? How will they be prepared to make it as adults without adequate training in school? They won’t.

Many teachers, often already underpaid, care so much about their students’ education that they spend their own money for classroom supplies for their students. On average, teachers spend at least $500 of their own money on resources to help their students learn.

One special education teacher, Yeneer who works at Western Heights Elementary in Oklahoma City, told us that because the challenges her students and their IMG_1498.JPGfamilies face are so great, school supplies are quite low on their parents’ priority list. Because of the Feed the Children Teacher Store, she’s able to provide her students with basic supplies.

“I love that my kids don’t feel less than,” she said. “With your help, my students feel more like all the other kids.”

That’s why it’s so important to us to support these teachers. When teachers receive the best resources possible, they’re free to focus all their energy and resources on teaching. And that gives their students every opportunity to learn and achieve great things.

We are indebted to the corporate donors who help stock our Teacher Stores each month, including TOPS Products, School Specialty, Excelligence Learning Corporation, BIC, Hachette Book Group, First Book, Disney Publishing, Scholastic and The Creative Company. They believe in our mission of providing hope for those without life’s essentials.

Together, we’re helping more kids be kids and learn to their fullest potential in school this year!

It All Starts with a Chicken

In order to help kids be kids and not worry about where their next meal comes, we must build sustainable solutions to the root causes of poverty.

We can’t simply feed children. We must teach children how to feed themselves.

To do this, caregivers must learn new skills in how to invest in their children’s future. At Feed the Children this is why our efforts to create new livelihoods in communities where we serve is so important. Sometimes this means teaching better agricultural practices. Sometimes this means offering training in an activity like sewing or bee keeping. Other times it means providing livestock to communities with education on how the products obtained can better kids lives.

Consider Loresho Primary School located in the Westlands Constituency of Nairobi, Kenya.  Located in the heart of the city, this is a school that Feed the Children has a longstanding partnership with. For several years, (thanks to our government advocates and donors) we’ve provided a hot meal for each student every school day. Often times this is the only meal that these children receive all day.

But, more needed to be done. Recently we delivered 500 chicks to the school. Out of the number delivered, 100 were a contribution from parents of the school with the means to do so.

Prior to the delivery, several planning meetings were held between Feed the Children in Kenya and Loresho Primary School Management Committee (SMC) where a memorandum of understanding was signed on each party’s responsibility about the chicken project. Investment in the project was very important from teachers, parents, children, as well as Feed the Children.

image 4Upon delivery, Feed the Children staff placed the chicks in a specially constructed poultry house that is well fitted with infrared lamps in the brooder area to provide a convenient heat source for them.   The brooder area is an enclosure that will serve as the chicks’ home to provide them with a warm environment until they mature.

To ensure the success of the project for the most number of children, the school committed to breed the chicks watching their progress closely. For example, the chickens will receive clean water, proper ventilation, and regularly cleanings by the children.

Looking ahead, it is expected that the chicks will mature and start laying eggs in the next six months.  Feed the Children staff will monitor and support the school until they start laying eggs. Going forward the school will accept responsibility for the the project.

Once the chicks mature and start hatching, the produce will be sold to parents of the school and surrounding community.  Children in the school will also have eggs as part of their school diet.  Proceeds from sales will be used to supplement the purchase of food for the school-feeding program.

This chicken project ensures that the children at Leresho Primary School both have more protein in their diet as well as income for the most nutritious of foods in the future! And other schools in the area are excited about participating!

It’s truly a big win for all the children: one chick at a time.