Tagum City Food Bank

is creating To feed every malnourished child in Tagum City, Mindanao

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David Wasson an award-winning Seattle chef, and cooking instructor left his successful career in 2008 to retire in the Philippines, where he expected to lead a peaceful and quiet existence.

After moving to Mindanao (which is considered dangerous even by Filipino standards), He was invited to a “Thanksgiving” celebration at Purok Garciaville. He was struck by the weight of the children, and in speaking with the Barangay Health Worker, He began to see some serious problems that are not always so obvious. Yes, the children are happy, clean, mostly well dressed and not usually “looking” distressed – but looks, in Mindanao, are quite deceiving.

He saw a society that was struggling. Schools here, including the public schools, cost the parents money. It is not uncommon for a family to have as many as 9 children, so school, any medical care, and food are often “divided” among the children. The main deficiency is their weight because these children don’t get to eat every day. I use the BMI index to classify the children as officially malnourished, which just means they are so skinny and underweight that their brains and bodies won’t develop normally. It’s really very dangerous for their (our) future. He found that life didn’t oblige his expectations. Food — something most of us easily find steps away, in our kitchens or in favorite restaurants, is a scarce commodity in Mindanao, where he decided to make his home. Wasson observed families living in poverty, who had no access to nutritious food, and in many cases, could not afford to feed their children even a meager meal, each day.

In some cases you would see children wearing really old or torn and dirty clothes — but only when the family is living in extreme poverty or when there is no mother around. They get some clothes donated by the church, and there are secondhand shops (called “okay-okay” and mostly from Japan or Korea) where you can buy used clothes really cheap, for less than a dollar. As a professional chef and educator, and especially, as a Dad, he couldn’t bear to see hungry and sometimes, starving, children.
Wasson, who now is the Chef and Child Foundation Ambassador to the Philippines, did what he knew he had to do. Where he feeds children who are often profoundly malnourished, and teaches the mothers, at weekly classes, about breastfeeding, nutrition, healthy eating habits, and how to take charge of their own lives. His compelling story is a true-life tale of compassion, love, and commitment to life.

Being stunted in their growth means their internal organs lose the ability to metabolize foods properly and their little brains are stunted too (the WHO calls these children “wasted” !) So we go to their Barangay with the meal and the
rice, we weight them, get them washing their hands and give them a 20 minute class. After they eat we let them check out a book from our little library (300 books donated so far) and then distribute the rice. We also give them vegetable starts so they can grow their own, a t-shirt, toothbrushes, and vitamins. We have restored 1000+ kids in 29 Barangays!.

We spend 3,500 pesos on the hot meal (about 50 <g>usd</g>) and 3,500 pesos on the rice (about 60 <g>usd</g>) every week for 12 weeks. Sometimes it takes us 14 weeks to restore all the babies to a healthy weight. A cost of about 40 <g>usd</g> per child for complete restoration. All donations, 100% buys food for these babies period, we have other accounts for administrative costs. currently, we are only able to give them rice and it is important to their health that we can start giving protein in the form of canned foods, dried fish, eggs, and milk.
$844.55 of $1,000 per month
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