Volunteer for the Visayans organizes community feeding programs for young children who have been identified as undernourished. These programs involve volunteers preparing and serving nutritious meals to young children once a day to ensure that they are eating healthy and nutritious meals.
VFV approaches preschools and day care centers in order to help give nutritious meals to children who would otherwise not have access to these meals.
VFVs latest community feeding program is at a day care center in Lapay, Tanauan. Volunteers Adam and Kerrie began the program by profiling the children. This involved measuring their height and weight and calculating each child’s BMI to identify the children who have very low BMIs and providing a nutritious lunch for these children every day they are at school.
As expected all the children sit well below the average BMI for children their age because they cannot afford to eat nutritious meals every day, which is why the community feeding programs are so important. Quite often these children miss their growth spurts due because they do not receive enough nourishment for their bodies to grow at their natural rates. By ensuring these community programs go ahead we can make sure the children get the nourishment their bodies need in order for them to receive their growth spurts.
The volunteers then begin every day by shopping at the local market for fresh produce and meats for the meal they have chosen to prepare. Once they have purchased the ingredients they make their way to the preschool and start preparing the meal for the children.
The kids are always extremely happy to see the volunteers when they arrive and always have a smile on their face. At first some of the kids were a little shy when the volunteers arrived, but after a few days the children cannot wait to play with their volunteers every day.
If the volunteers ever need any help or have any questions the teachers at the preschool and the children are always happy to help when they can, which is very true to the Filipino culture.
Once the meal is prepared the volunteers serve what they have cooked to the children, much to their pleasure.
In addition to providing food for the children, the volunteers also provide them with toothbrushes and toothpaste in an effort to improve oral hygiene. These children often have poor oral hygiene and do not brush their teeth, which results in decay and other dental issues.
By providing the children with toothbrushes and ensuring they brush their teeth after eating we can begin to teach the children good oral hygiene habits that hopefully have a lasting effect on them.
Teaching the children these habits at a young age is more likely to make an impression on them and to prevent dental issues than trying to instil oral hygiene habits to someone who already has poor oral hygiene. This can help to reduce the risk of decay and other issues that a child may have developed otherwise.
Once all the food has been enjoyed by the children, the volunteers clean up their work area and begin to leave. The children are so happy and excited to have volunteers with them, that when it comes time for the volunteers to leave at the end of the day they wish they could stay longer.
There is a chorus of goodbyes and waves as the volunteers leave and some of the children even wait with the volunteers for them to catch their transport. The goodbye waves last until the children are completely out of sight and are replaced with hellos and smiles the following day.
VFV welcomes all donations and sponsors so we can continue to fund programs such as these that allow us to provide these nutritious meals to children in need. If you are interested in donating or volunteering with VFV please visit: https://visayans.org/community-center/community-feeding
Written by: Perry Staios – Media Intern from Australia