“NO CHILD IN SAN MIGUEL SHALL KNOW THE PAIN OF HUNGER.”
That’s the straightforward goal of one of SMA’s oldest and most successful, non-governmental organizations. Over more than three decades, Feed the Hungry (FTH) has evolved from one small, humble kitchen at St. Paul’s Anglican Church to providing nutritious – and delicious – daily meals to children in twenty-six of San Miguel’s poorest communities.
FTH builds and operates kitchens at the primary school in each village where, in total, about 4,000 carefully prepared, well-balanced meals are cooked every school day. (It also delivers ingredients for the daily meals of some 500 orphans, children with disabilities, and some senior citizens who are served by six other San Miguel charities.) And, because children are required to be in school to get the meal, attendance in FTH schools increases 15 to 20%.
FTH buys as many ingredients as possible – about 30 tons a week of meat, poultry, fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and dry goods – from local suppliers to ensure quality, fair pricing, and reliable availability.
A virtual army of volunteers, both Mexicans and extranjeros, are involved. Some work in the warehouse packaging those ingredients, while others drive the packages to twenty-two community kitchens. Women from each village are recruited to cook the meals; some are paid, others are volunteers, but all receive continuous on-the-job training related to meal preparation, nutrition, and kitchen hygiene.
FTH offers community Family Nutrition workshops as well as individual counselling for the mothers of severely malnourished or obese children. The health and nutrition of each individual child is evaluated on a semi-annual basis to identify improvements or deficiencies in the child’s nutritional health.