NICARAGUA: Rice-meal donation from Feed My Starving Children provides better nutrition for students and the elderly
(MissionNewswire) Children, mothers, the elderly and those living in poverty within the Salesian Diocese of Estelí, the third largest city in Nicaragua, 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.”
The Universidad Católica del Trópico Seco (Catholic University of the Dry Tropics) received the donation, and through a network of Salesian missionaries, delivered 42,322 pounds of rice-meals within the communities of the departments of Estelí, Madriz and Nueva Segovia. The majority of beneficiaries have few resources and live in extreme poverty.
The donated rice-meals provided to Salesian schools are given to students during the school day as part of a free lunch program begun by Salesian missionaries to meet the needs of the many area families with limited resources to feed their children. The meals ensure students receive proper nutrition and a balanced diet, helping them to focus on their studies and extracurricular activities.
Forty-five boys and girls attending the Rural School of the Community “El Regadío,” located in the northeast of the municipality of Estelí, were beneficiaries. Amanda Cruz, mother of one of the boys in the school who helped in the preparation of the food, said, “It is easy to prepare and you can use the resources of the community, which are donated so no money was spent in the preparation.”
Salesian missionaries and volunteers also distributed donated rice-meals to families in need through community outreach efforts and at local churches. The food aid helped elderly residents receive proper nutrition and aided in improving their strength, health and mental well-being. Food aid was also delivered directly to families at home to ensure that children receive more than just the one meal offered at school.
“Many of those participating in Salesian programs in Nicaragua are malnourished,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “For students, this donated food not only encourages them to attend school, it allows them to focus on getting the education they need without worrying about where their next meal will come from. Children cannot learn on an empty stomach.”
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. The partnership began in early 2006 when the first 40-foot container was donated to and shipped by Salesian Missions for programs in Sri Lanka.
Nicaragua is one of the least developed and poorest countries in Latin America, second only to Haiti, with more than 42 percent of its residents living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty, although declining steadily in recent years, remains high. More than 80 percent of Nicaragua’s poor people live in remote rural communities where access to basic services is a daily challenge.
After decades of political instability and vulnerability to natural hazards, the country has achieved a remarkable economic turnaround and is now focusing on innovative ways of reducing poverty. However, years of widespread poverty have taken their toll and many residents suffer from poor health conditions including HIV/AIDS. In addition, crime, violence against women, gang violence and high unemployment result in challenging economic and social conditions, particularly for young people and women.
PHOTO NOTE: Photo shows a distribution of Feed My Starting Children meals in Nicaragua in 2015.
World Bank – Nicaragua