9,000 meals for elementary school kids have been served so far… and here are the tangible results of this effort…
It all started with a post last September 2007, asking which silly marketmanila t-shirt readers might be inclined to acquire, with a charitable twist. Lee, one of marketmanila’s sukis, sent Marketman some terrific unsolicited t-shirt designs and roughly 270 readers signified their interest in acquiring the shirts, and then totes, suggested by another reader. A total of roughly 500-600 pieces were “reserved.” Lee went on to do the final designs. We finished the t-shirts and the cacha tote bags, and set up delivery points. Roughly 350 out of the 500-600 reservations turned into donations, leading to total donations of roughly PHP210,000, including donors who donated much more than the minimum amounts. I have to admit, the distribution of shirts last November 2007 was a much bigger hassle than I had anticipated and what should have been just 2-3 pick-up dates stretched to 6-7 dates and still roughly 30% of folks were unable to pick up their reserved items. We then arranged for our first feeding program to commence in early December at the Banawa Elementary School in Cebu, and two readers of this blog, Edik and Artisan Chocolatier, joined me and my office crew at the “opening ceremonies.” Here was the post with photos from that first feeding program, and here is a link to Edik’s blog with his entry on that day at the Banawa Elementary School, take note of a student he focused his lens on, named Sheldon. I also did a post in February, once the feeding program in Manila at the Tenement School in Taguig commenced, feeding another 120-130 kids, three times a week.
Since we started the feeding programs in December 2007, we have fed a total of about 235 undernourished students, three times a week for roughly 4-5 months. A total of roughly 9,000 meals were served, costing almost PHP180,000 (and 100% of all donations reached the beneficiaries, all other costs were shouldered by Marketman & family). When I was last in Cebu, my office staff prepared a summary of the “results” of the Banawa feeding program… and I was impressed by the numbers:
– 105-107 kids took part in the feeding program (Cebu only)
– 56% male, 44% female
– ages 5 to 12, pre-school to Grade 6
– average weight before the feeding program was 18.12 kilos or 39.9 pounds
– very high absenteeism, often minimal interest in class work
After 5 months:
– average weight increased 13%! to 20.5 kilos, or an average of 2.4 kilos or 5.3 pounds weight gain
– one child gained no weight, a few kids put on as much as 5 kilos, and the average weight gain was 2.4 kilos
– absenteeism dropped dramatically, as attendance soared, most particularly on feeding days
– identified beneficiaries appeared to have a greater interest in school work and were less listless during afternoon sessions (in the past, they were frankly, hungry and uninterested)
But the feeding program cannot take all of the credit for these improvements. Apparently, the program inspired parents who also strived harder to put food on the table for their kids. Parents of the kids also participated in the preparation of food for the kids. Children were also provided with de-worming medication prior to the feeding program and were carefully weighed before, during and after the feeding program. Frankly, the numbers are nice, but they do not sum up the success of this tiny little effort.
This is about the kids. It is about hundreds of readers, many of them totally unknown to me and to each other, who saw fit to donate some money that has gone an incredibly long way in terms of bang for the buck. It is about a collective effort gone so incredibly right. I am stunned by the results not just in the kids’ weight, but in the display of generosity from all of you. As for Sheldon, the kid in Edik’s blog, I just checked his specific data, and the cute kid who was 7 years old at the start of this program, put on 2 kilos in added weight, from 15 kilos to 17, a gain of 13.3%. Look it, even if the numbers are inflated, this would have been a huge success even at half the weight gain, because of the smiles on the faces of the kids who participated in the program. Because of the hope generated with so little relative effort. Because you have all helped to provide 9,000 meals to kids who really needed them. And because I have enough funds for another 2,000 meals at the start of the next school year. Now I just have to figure out how to keep this going, because it will break one’s heart to stop it. Thank you so much to all of you who gave so generously to this program. This was definitely a good thing. A very good thing.
In fact, I was so caught up in the numbers and reports from my efficient office crew, that I nearly missed the most important piece of paper in the report. The last page of the summary was a letter from the beneficiaries of the Banawa Feeding Program and in part, it read “In behalf of the 107 beneficiaries of this very laudable program/assistance, we, the beneficiaries, parents and teaching personnel of the Banawa Elementary School would like to thank most sincerely marketmanila’s readers, Marketman and staff for your generosity. God bless you.” And was it signed? Yes, INDIVIDUALLY signed by ALL 107 kids who participated in the feeding program. Now THAT piece of paper is PRICELESS. :) Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!