The Results of The Marketmanila Feeding Program…

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!


45 Responses

  1. Congratulations, job well done! I like the idea that you even considered de-worming the kids. Very smart move. Feeding hungry students not only stimulates interest in attending school but also helps in brain development. I hope you will continue with these efforts. My hats off to you.

  2. I share your enthusiasm and pleasure at good statistics. But yes, that letter with 107 signatures. Go kids!

    I’m very happy that 105-107 kids are having an easier time in school, and if there are future efforts such as these, count me in.

    Good work everyone!

  3. Congratulations! Very inspiring news. Any way that your overseas readers can take part?

  4. thank you for the very inspiring report. i hope you can once again think of yet another creative- and fun- way of raising money to continue with the feeding program.

  5. It would be a heartbreak indeed to stop the program. I would dearly love to help and hope that you could find a way to receive donations from readers living outside the Philippines.

  6. congratulations to MM, family, crew and readers! i read somewhere that hungry people can’t be good at learning or producing anything, except maybe violence. this feeding program is helping these kids go a long way! :) and count me in on your next project, MM!

  7. This is sooooo heart-warming it made me teary-eyed! Grabe! Feels so good to be part of an endeavor like this! Thanks, MM! =)

  8. Congratulations, MM! Maybe you can share a scanned copy of the letter to the marketmanila readers to keep the inspiration and generosity going. = )

  9. I hope you’ll continue this project, MM. How about posting a bank account number where MM readers could voluntarily deposit their donations of whatever amount?

  10. I’m (still) in, MM! I think most of us are willing to go the extra miles for this project, even without the t-shirts and tote bags.

  11. Good for you MM! I actually asked a friend to get me a shirt and tote bag when you put them up for sale … but even though I saw him last December we somehow forgot to do an exchange of goods. In any case, congratulations on the good effort. Ever the consultant, it’s quite nice you back things up with tangible numbers. =)

  12. Naluha naman ako. Grabe, ang galeng! Congrats to all and maybe when you’re able to collect from your readers abroad, even more children will benefit. God Bless MM and and all his loyal readers!!

  13. Congratulations MM!! It really feels so good to be part of this project. Hope we can come up with another project to continue this great endeavor. That piece of paper with their 107 signatures is truly priceless!!

  14. Kudos on the fantastic results, MM. This is even more heartening in light of the news reports we’ve been getting here lately about the rice shortages that’s been plaguing the country. I can just imagine what it must be like for some of these families.

  15. What a heart-warming post! I sincerely would love to help by donating to this worthwhile programme.

  16. What a wonderful and noble deed! God bless you and your family and the rest of your “suki”.

  17. Bravo, MM! It’s always great to see measurable results with any project, but in this case, the benefits to all are almost immeasurable. Your generosity of spirit is inspiring.

  18. best news i received so far this week…the kids must have really shown a great difference in school work- kailangan talaga lamanan muna ang sikmura, bago ang utak eh…

  19. This is really very inspring MM! Congratulations, you’ve done such a great job organizing this fund raising and im sure the kids are overwhelmed with gratitude =)

  20. Im crying here in the office after reading the 1st paragraph. I hope you can find a way for your overseas readers to take part in your feeding program. Education in children who will be the future leaders in our country is very important. I took part in some outreach programs for our religion class, it broke my heart to see kids who were so happy for our simple gifts and knowing that after a few weeks it will come to an end. You are a good person MM, keep it up and God bless you, your family, and your staff.

  21. i was just thinking last night of how the feeding program was progressing….and i’m glad to hear that it’s doing well…..if you find a way to continue it, i might not be able to help/donate my time but i’ll gladly give whatever i can ….. we need more people like you…GOD BLESS!!!

  22. even without the figures, i knew the impact of the feeding program would be significant. thanks MM for giving us, your readers, the chance to be a part of this worthwhile project.

  23. Great news….Was not able to participate/donate. Pls let me know when your next “drive” will be. Would like to be counted in!

  24. this wouldn’t have happened without your vision and commitment. do keep it up..a supportive marketmanila community is right behind you!

  25. Congratulations, MM for av very heart-warming post! All Marketmanila readers are so proud of you for initiating this endeavor!

    Interesting effort on the de-worming – goes hand in hand with the feeding program. Brilliant!

    How about a project on flouride treatment to save on future and costly dental treatments?

  26. Congratulations! There has to be a way for us US readers to participate. This has got to go global!!!

  27. Keep it up. Hopefully I could work on a similar idea and help out kids in our area. Thanks for sharing. Will try to be part of your next project.

  28. Hi MM!

    This is a great post! How about an “auction” next time of your intriguing mangostine jam and the like for the next fundraiser.

    I hope I will be able to join in and contribute somehow.

    Cheers and more power!

  29. The learning process and social skills of the Kids involved in your feeding programs go way way up. Why this feeding program comes from a good hearted man like you? What is our administration doing? Our beloved Philippines is the only country I know where no aid pass out to her citizens no medical care no medication provided no school cafeteria food for her public school students. How I wish it will be election time every year so the politicians’ money flow out like a river in their campaign expenditures. They cannot even tackle the rice shortage problem – let alone the dooming bread shortage which are the spin off of crude oil high price which is a worldwide crisis. Mary Antoinette had a heart of gold – when France ran out of bread she adamantly suggested “Let them eat cake them.” Bless your heart on this worthy cause!

  30. I hope you/we can keep this programme running, with food prices on the rise demand for this will only continue to grow. Whatever scheme you come up with, I’m in!

  31. MM, congratulations for a job well done and those who participated….Please let us know how we can be of help….God Bless!



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