The most poignant lines from this morning’s visit to the Tenement Elementary School Feeding Program sponsored by Marketmanila.com and its many generous readers:
“We ask them to finish every grain of rice on their plates as this is a gift from God. They aren’t used to doing that at home. (Why? I asked?) They leave food on their plates, because their moms’ tend to eat last, and eat only what the kids have not taken for themselves.”
Heartbreaking. But it’s the reason that mothers are often cited as our modern day heroes. Though if they and their spouses simply opted to voluntarily have fewer offspring, maybe there would be more food for the entire family to consume. But that’s a whole other discussion. This morning, Mrs. MM, The Teen, a guest (visiting daughter of a Korean high school classmate of ours) and I went to visit the feeding program at the Taguig Tenement Elementary School. The program has continuously provided meals for seriously undernourished kids for nearly the past two years. The restaurant Mamou’s generous donations have gone directly to this program, along with donations from marketmanila.com readers from all over the Philippines and around the world.
There were three shifts of 40 kids each lined up outside the “feeding room” set up with stoves, sinks and tables and chairs; a new facility that also doubles as the computer room later in the day! Today the kids had a saucy viand with corned beef, chunks of carrots and sliced green beans with a tomato sauce, over generous amounts of rice and served with a slice of watermelon. I think the juice today was a special occasion thing. And we brought some cookies for everyone to eat at merienda.
These kids are all roughly 7 years of age as this program decided to concentrate on first grade students this year (other programs feed older children), but I swear they were quite small for their age, a full 6 inches shorter than our own daughter at that age. And despite their cheery faces, they were incredibly thin. And as ordered, they left nary a grain of rice on any of their plates today. After all the recent talk of GMA’s dinner at Le Cirque, I needed a visit to the feeding program, to remind all of us just how tough things are indeed getting. For PHP1 million, we could provide another 50,000 meals for kids like these.
Let me take this opportunity to once again thank all of the donors to the marketmanila.com feeding program for their generous donations over the past year; one visit to a feeding like this and you just have to know what an incredibly good thing you have done. Salamat.
All photos on this post were taken by The Teen.