EL SALVADOR: Students, Elderly Have Better Nutrition Thanks to Rice Meal Donation from Feed My Starving Children
(MissionNewswire) Salesian students attending programs through the Don Bosco Industrial Polygon Foundation (EDYTRA) in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, have access to better nutrition thanks to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” Don Bosco Industrial Polygon provides several different programs that help at-risk children and older youth. More than 700 students access free education through the Salesian kindergarten, elementary and high school as well as the Don Bosco Technical Training & Business School.
The recent shipment of rice meals from Feed My Starving Children, the third this year sent to Salesian programs in El Salvador, was distributed to the Miguel Magone and Laura Vicuña programs within EDYTRA impacting 171 youth. Students (107 boys and girls) with limited resources attending the programs receive free breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is also an integrated daycare program in which 64 children receive free lunch each day.
The donated rice meals are provided to students in school to ensure they receive proper nutrition and a balanced diet in order for them to focus on their studies as well as extracurricular activities such as art and sports. Salesian missionaries began the school feeding program to meet the needs of the many area families with limited resources to feed their children.
“Children cannot learn on an empty stomach, and for many students the meal they receive at school may be their only meal for the day,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian feeding programs not only encourage families to send their children to school, they allow students to focus on getting the education they need without worrying about where they will find their next meal.”
The soy-rice meals were also shared with adults and the elderly living in poverty in the communities of Naval, San Juan Bosco, Independencia, 4 de Mayo, Condominios San Ernesto, Comunidad Lourdes and Comunidad Concepción de San Salvador.
The ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children has resulted in 40-foot containers of fortified rice meals being shipped to Salesian sites around the globe. Feed My Starving Children provides the food and Salesian Missions takes care of the cost and logistics of shipping each container from Feed My Starving Children warehouses to the destination country. Salesian Missions also works to help identify where the greatest needs are at any given time.
Salesian missionaries are an integral part of the existing infrastructure in many countries and Salesian Missions plays an important role in making sure aid from the United States reaches its destination country and gets into the hands of those who need it most. Youth who access Salesian programs in El Salvador are given an educational foundation, technical skill training and life and social skills to help them excel in the workforce. They are then able to break the cycle of poverty and become contributing members of their communities.
Close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in the country is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
World Bank – El Salvador