Friday, May 1, 2009

Feeding 1,000 Children

Lunch at school seems simple enough. Feed a child's stomach and feed their mind. While there are some schools in Tanzania able to serve students a simple lunch of uji (a thin corn flour porridge) or ugali (a thicker porridge), there are many schools that can not afford this luxury.

The availability of a meal at school ultimately depends on the financial means of the children's parents. But with an average household income of less than $1 a day, paying for a school lunch -- especially when there are often 6 or more children in a family -- is often an expense that families can not bear.

This is the case at Seela Primary School on Mt. Meru in Tanzania.

The teachers tried to start a lunch program for the 1,000 students at this elementary school. But they were met with only the soulful eyes and empty pockets of parents who also wanted nothing more than to feed their children. The parents, however, didn't even have a tin of corn flour with which to to feed their own families, much less an extra amount to send to the school.

So the children are hungry. They arrive at school at 7:00 am to clean the classrooms and school grounds. There is no money to pay a custodian. Then they attend classes from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm.

There is time set aside for a "lunch break" at the school. Children who are lucky enough to live close to the school may wander home to see if there is any food available. Often there is not, and they will get their all-too-common one meal of the day in the evening after gathering firewood and fetching water from the river for the family to use in preparing a meal. Then they will do their homework before sleeping.

For those who live far from the school and walk many miles to and from school each day, there is no time to walk home with a hope that their will be food to eat.

But imagine a Tanzanian child's smile at the sight of a lunch served at school.

This is just what the students at Kennedy Middle School have done.

The students in Mr. Demers six "Foods" classes imagined the hungry children in Tanzania. And they opened their hearts to these children and reached in their own pockets to make a donation to feed the 1,000 children at Seela Primary School a meal for one day.

The 7th grade students in the 5th hour/gold class recently presented the donation to Hearts in Unity. We extend our grateful thanks to the generous students at KMS who have looked at the blessings of their own lives, and who have reached out to help those who are less fortunate.

To learn more about how you, or your school, church or community group can help feed the children of Tanzania, please visit our website at:

KMS students pictured above include: Emily A, Sara B, Rebecca B, Allison B, Edward B, Reed G, Ben G, Brian H, Jacob H, Britney H, Ben K. Matthew K, Taylor K, Sydney M, Abdulwasae M, Zachary N, Ashley S, Sara S, Tyler T, Joseph T, Dimitrios T, Jacob T, Brianna U, Hunter V, Alexia W, Robert W, Rebekah W.
Thanks to all and to Mr. Demers too!

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