News Roundup, September 29, 2016

Feed the Children Fights Malaria

The Feed the Children office in Uganda distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets in the Twonokun village, Gulu district. The distribution took place in August, at Sunrise Early Learning Center.

The mosquito nets were distributed as an initiative to prevent malaria, which has been difficult for children in this area.

Feed the Children partnered with the area health officer, Apolo Grace, who informed villagers of the importance of sleeping under treated mosquito nets for malaria prevention.

According to Uganda’s 2014-15 Malaria Indicator Survey, malaria remains one of the most significant diseases in the country, causing substantial morbidity, mortality and negative socio-economic impact.

Major interventions have been undertaken as part of the country’s strategic planning effort to help bring malaria under control in the country.

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with different stakeholders, has intensified efforts to increase access to and use of long-lasting insecticidal nets, which are more durable and cost-effective than untreated nets.

High School Students Participate in 30-mile Bike Ride to Feed 400 Families

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Feed the Children joined together with 4 Kids for Kids to lend a hand to Hempstead, New York families last week. A total of 400 families took home enough food and essentials boxes to fill a semitruck at the local United Methodist Church.

Because hunger can’t be tackled alone, Feed the Children’s partner agencies — the Long Island Council of Churches, Family and Children’s Association, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, United Way of Long Island and the United Methodist Church of Hempstead — pre-identified the 400 families. These families received a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; and a box of assorted Avon products.

The heroes of the event were four Babylon Village high schoolers who raised funds and completed a 30-mile bike ride to raise money for Feed the Children in May. Emmet Chapey of Chaminade High School and Andrew Szuchy, Jack Hartigan and Matt McGaley of Babylon High School started the 30-mile ride in East Hampton and finished it in Montauk in less than three hours. Their goal was to raise $15,000, but thanks to generous donors, they were able to surpass their goal and raise $15,770.

This event is one of many that Feed the Children has planned across the country. In Hempstead alone, nearly 22 percent of families live below the poverty line. Often, these families are unsure where they will find their next meal.

“Feed the Children strives to provide hope and resources to those without life’s essentials,” said J.C. Watts, Jr., Feed the Children president and CEO. “We are honored to partner with 4 Kids for Kids in the fight to end hunger.”

400 Military Families Receive Food and Necessities

The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes joined Feed the Children to celebrate Colorado Springs military families last week. At the event, a total of 400 military and veterans’ families received food and essentials filling one semitruck at the lot across from Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence. The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence provide programs and services to military service members and their families, designed to help them with the unique challenges of military life.

The Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence helped pre-identify families at Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, and other veterans organizations. The families each received a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; and a box of assorted Avon products. Volunteers were also on-site serving and assisting.

Feed the Children is proud to partner with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to honor military families. When organizations combine their efforts, they have a greater impact on the lives of those who sacrifice so much for our country.

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-3-24-08-pmStriking Out Hunger in the Nation’s Capital

Major League Baseball and PepsiCo stepped up to the plate with Feed the Children and community organizations in the Washington DC area last month to help strike out hunger.

Along with food and essentials, families also received Disney books, backpacks, and additional product provided by PepsiCo, Harris Teeter and Bimbo Bakeries.

Vote to Fight Hunger!

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-2-00-28-pmFeed the Children is currently in the running for the Cat in the Hat for President campaign, and we need your votes! The winning charity receives a significant donation from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Amazon and Random House Children’s Books.

Click on the following link and cast your vote to fight hunger: http://www.seussville.com/catinhat4prez/

Votes are unlimited but must be completed by November 8. Help the Cat in the Hat fight hunger as his first order of business as the kids’ candidate for president!

News Roundup: Special Africa Edition

For today’s roundup we are highlighting stories from our work in Africa. Read on and be inspired!

Tanzania

The dawn of 2016 brought with it good tidings for children of Masanganya Primary School in Kisarawe district: it marked the end of a four-year period of going without meals while in school. The school used to benefit from mid-morning porridge, but this was halted due to challenges that made food preparation impractical.

Early this year, Feed the Children renovated the school’s kitchen, replenished the cooking utensils and provided foodstuffs to aid in preparing mid-morning porridge for more than 400 kids in the elementary school.

Both pupils and teachers are happy with the developments. “We are very delighted that this program has resumed,” said the deputy head teacher, Deus Kimpalamba. “You can see that the children are happy to have porridge during the break. Some of them come from home without breakfast, and having to spend the whole day hungry is very hard.” The mid-morning porridge is fortified with vitamins and minerals, so it improves the nutritional status of the children in addition to reducing their hunger and keeping them in school.

Photo above: A pupil at Masanganya Primary School enjoying a cup of fortified porridge.

Uganda

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Feed the Children staff show a woman how best to hold a child when breastfeeding.

 

More than 100 mothers in Northern Uganda’s Amuru District were trained last month in infant and young child feeding. The one-day training took place at the Pabbo Health Centre in Gulu and was facilitated by Feed the Children staff and an officer in charge of the health center. The training helped breastfeeding and expectant mothers learn about infant nutrition. It focused on maternal nutrition during pre-conception and pregnancy, the importance of breastfeeding, position and attachment during breastfeeding, and an overview of HIV/AIDS and infant feeding.

The training was participatory and included demonstrations. The mothers appreciated the skills gained at the training. “I am very lucky to be here today,” said one mother. “Thank you so much Feed the Children for all the help you have offered to our community. I have benefitted a lot from this.”

Another mother spoke of her joy and asked that such trainings be expanded to reach more mothers. The training is part of Feed the Children’s Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) programs that aim to sensitize expectant and new mothers on proper nutrition and feeding of children.

Kenya

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Yikiatine Primary School Headteacher (left) walks with two scientists from ICRAF through the garden in her school during the visit.

Feed the Children and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) representatives made their first joint field visit early this month in order to follow up on a gardening project introduced to Yikiatine and Makutano primary schools in the Mwala district.

The ‘Fruiting Africa project’ is funded by ICRAF and implemented by Feed the Children. It seeks to increase wealth and health of poor farming communities through enhanced cultivation, processing, marketing and consumption of a diversity of fruits and vegetables.

Scientists from ICRAF who joined in the trip were pleased by the progress of the gardens. Dr. Katja Kehlenbeck, one of the scientists with ICRAF, expressed her delight in the development of the gardens. “We are very happy to see this. We have seen some of your projects in Kajiado do well, and we are happy with this progress.”

The visit follows a training conducted in October to sensitize members of the Schools’ Management Committees (SMCs) on the different nutritional value of various indigenous vegetables and fruits. The training also covered proper land preparation and crop management for kitchen gardens as well as environmental conservation as a key to sustainability.

The schools in turn established the kitchen gardens and grew various fruits and vegetables including mangoes, onions, spinach, kale, bananas, guavas, lemons, paw-paw and custards, among other plants. “We got to learn that these fruits that we call wild are actually healthy, and we love them a lot,” said Makutano DEB Primary School’s head teacher, Eunice Mutua. The teacher said that some vegetables are used to supplement the diets in the schools.

Malawi

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Children from Chapinduka carry placards in celebration of the attainment of the milestone.

It was a historic moment for Feed the Children and the Malawi government two months ago when Traditional Authority Chapinduka (a region of the country) was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). Since 2010, the government of Malawi has used funding from the Global Sanitation Fund to implement hygiene and sanitation interventions across the country with the purpose of making Malawi an ODF zone.

Five years down the line, two traditional Authorities in the country had been declared ODF free, and Chapinduka became the third (but the first in the Northern part of Malawi) thanks to Feed the Children’s intervention. It took Feed the Children one and a half years to achieve this milestone.

Gathering to witness the significant occasion were officials from the government of Malawi, Plan Malawi, Feed the Children staff, government officials from Rumphi district council and community members from Chapinduka. Chiefs from across Rumphi were also invited to witness the occasion and learn from their fellow chief how he made it with his subjects.

Traditional Authority Chapinduka is mountainous and only accessible by foot or boat. It has a population of slightly over 5,000 people. At the start of the project, 81% of the households had toilets and today, 98% of the households do.

News Roundup, December 28, 2015

Bikers with a Big Heart

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Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. recently presented a check for $31,373 to Feed the Children as part of its Ninth Annual Feed the Children Charity Day at the company’s Cypress, CA, headquarters.

The money was raised through the ‘hard work and generosity of its employees, according to Yamaha.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., raises money for Feed the Children through employee donations, special dealer fundraising activities, and direct corporate donations from Yamaha’s customer satisfaction team. The company’s Customer Satisfaction Survey program makes a donation for each survey returned by a Yamaha Motorsports customer.

“Feed the Children is proud to partner with Yamaha Motor Corporation,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. “We know that, when we combine our efforts, we will have a greater impact on the lives of families who need us most–right here in America.”

Star Touring And Riding (S.T.A.R.) volunteers were on hand at the event to help deliver donated food and supplies to the local Feed the Children office at the end of the day.

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Feed the Children Headquarters Provides Hands-on Help

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“We were going to only have sandwiches on Christmas day…”
“This food is saving our lives…”
“I walked 4 miles to get here…”
“We live in this car…”

These are just a few personal stories we heard at our distribution event in Oklahoma City.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Elizabeth Stevens estate, we were able to distribute a semitruck full of food and essentials to help over 400 Oklahoma families in need earlier this month. And, a very special thanks to Mid First Bank for providing warm hats and a helping hand in the cold.

Families from Hilldale Elementary School were the recipients of the food and supplies, which included a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; a box of assorted Avon products, as well as blankets, backpacks, Disney books, and hats from MidFirst Bank.

“One hundred percent of our students come from poverty,” said Hilldale Elementary Principal Price Brown. “We’re always looking for opportunities that make sure our students are able to enjoy holidays and feel like other kids.”

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A Very Special Graduation

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The Dorina Kal Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) in Uganda held a graduation ceremony for eleven kids moving on from kindergarten to Class 1.

The event, held last month, was attended by parents, teachers and community members, all of whom were as excited as the kids themselves. The little ones dressed up in convocation gowns and wore happy faces as they strode in confidence. Each child received a certificate of kindergarten completion that would allow them admission to class one. Feed the Children gave the kids books and pencils.

During their speeches, community leaders counseled parents on the importance of education. Feed the Children’s representative, Acire Mugisha, also spoke, urging parents to continue nurturing their kids so they can realize and achieve their dreams.

Feed the Children’s partnership with Dorina Kal ECDC goes back to early 2013, when we first engaged with the community. We later constructed classrooms to host kindergarten children in Pabbo Sub County in Northern Uganda, then began providing mid-morning porridge and lunch.  The meals are crucial, since a majority of the children do not have breakfast at home—the meals also attract kids to attend school.

In helping kids to be kids, and in an effort to create a conducive learning environment for young learners, Feed the Children also supported the center with playing equipment like seesaws, swings, and slides. We also drilled a shallow well (borehole) in the kindergarten compound, which serves the kids in school as well as the surrounding community to provide for clean water when the seasonal streams dry up during the dry season.

Feed the Children also promotes health practices like washing hands with soap, and we constructed a drainable latrine at the center to promote good hygiene practices.  We worked closely with the local government, who inspected the facility to ensure quality standards were adhered to before kids used the latrines.

Feed the Children also promotes kitchen gardens; the school grows vegetable which are used to supplement meals provided by Feed the Children. kids now have a balanced diet sourced from the garden.

Congratulations to the children and their families—may the good work in this community continue!

-Edna Onchiri

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Food and Fun in Phoenix… and Beyond

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PepsiCo celebrated its third annual Feeding Phoenix Event earlier this month, bringing food, hygiene, and Avon products to 800 families in the area. PepsiCo employees served as volunteers for the event, working with partner agencies Phoenix Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army.

Additional partners brought holiday cheer to the kids in attendance. JAKKS Toys provided toys for the children, and First Book made sure kids left the event with a book to call their own.

But the generosity doesn’t stop in Phoenix. We’ve had a busy month ensuring families have a happy holidays, with food distribution events in Nashville; Jamaica, NY; and Blytheville, AR.

And in Unadilla, GA, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan joined the effort, helping provide some 400 families with food and supplies. Ragan was the highest bidder for a hauler full of food at the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event last month.

“I am excited to partner with Feed the Children and The Lord’s Pantry to help provide meals for 400 families in my hometown of Unadilla and Dooly County,” Ragan said. “During the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, I met the Feed the Children group and learned how they can impact a community like mine. During this Christmas season, it will be a blessing to provide help for families in need.”

You are an indispensable part of this work. Donate now so we can continue helping kids be kids, and creating a world where no child goes to bed hungry.

Hope for the Future: Kindergarten Graduates in Uganda

In some parts of the world, like in the US, registering your child for kindergarten is truly an emotional step. Your baby is a baby no more. Their educational journey has begun. Countless tears are shed in anticipation of the great change in developmental status.

But, Mom and Dad’s emotions aside, thanks to public schools, beginning and then graduating from kindergarten is a natural first step for five and six year old children in the US. Parents don’t worry that there won’t be a building or what’s most critical–an opportunity for their child’s learning to flourish.

The same is not true for early learners in Northern Uganda.

In designated settlements without early learning centers, kids simply stay at home until primary school begins in the 1st grade.

Yet, thanks to the generous child sponsors of Feed the Children back in 2013, all of this changed for a group of very excited and eager kindergarteners. The Sunrise Early Childhood Development Center opened its doors near Gulu, Uganda.

Starting small, a group of four qualified teachers and three support staff welcomed 23 preschoolers. At preschool, the kids learn the alphabet (A to Z) and counting. They also begin to learn colors, different types of animals, greetings (morning/evening greetings) and social skills like naming family members. Each child receives a hot meal each day provided by generous Feed the Children donors. Feed the Children has also installed physical equipment on site and provided school uniforms.

What is most remarkable about Sunrise is that it’s the only early childhood center in Twonokun, a village with over 1000 households. The kids who come to Sunrise are the lucky few.

Now, Sunrise hosts 124 children, many of whom now receive three meals a day from our staff–getting vital nutrients needed for their growth and development.

Sunrise hosted it first ever kindergarten graduation on November 28th of last year. (In Uganda, the school term ends for Christmas holidays late in November). It was a happy day indeed and lives on as a day for rejoicing!

With clear skies above, and the atmosphere bright and cheerful inside; children lined up for the festivities. A total of 30 children participated in this first graduation ceremony at Twonokun Village.

As part of the program, the graduates recited facts they’d learned and shared songs and dances with their adoring parents and caregivers, who gathered to watch the festivities.

sunrise ECDC parentsIn speeches, the local leadership voiced their support towards the continued growth of the Center. The parent representative exclaimed “Thank you so much Feed the Children for making sure our kids are fed at school!”

One Feed the Children staffer observed of the mood of the children on their special day: “Their faces were visibly excited. It was a happy day to rejoice in the voices of the children and their hope!”

Following a beautiful ceremony of dance and skits and crowned with a football (soccer) tournament that was arranged by the youth of Twonokun; community members entertained parents.

The day concluded with the official dedication of the school. The centre also serves as a day care centre for other families which means that children of less than 3 years also have access to porridge and a lunch meal!

We are thankful that we can participate in the joy of making moments like these happen in Uganda. We know that as they study hard, even with the challenges, that their future is bright. Congratulations, graduates!