PASIG City, August 24, 2014—Since its launch in 2005, a church-sponsored program has been feeding as many as 1.5 million Filipino children.
Finda Lacanlalay, executive director of the HAPAG-ASA Integrated Nutrition Program of Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP), reported this number is set to increase to 1.8 million once its planned team-up with the government’s Department of Education (DepEd) pushes through.
Lacanlalay expects the PnP-DepEd partnership will regularly provide nutritious meals for six months to an estimated 360,000 undernourished grade school students, not only in typhoonYolanda-hit areas of the Visayas, but also in regions affected by recent calamities.
“In the communities we visit, either on the parish grounds or inside the school campus where we conduct our feeding sessions, all the children have to eat together. That way, we can closely monitor whether they are really consuming the food or not,” she explained.
HAPAG-ASA aims to develop a culture of sharing and loving for one’s neighbors as demonstrated in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish (Mt. 14:13-21).
The program also seeks to reduce malnutrition prevalence rate among 0 to 12 years old children, and to improve the capability of parents to care and provide for basic needs of their children.
The director shared that aside from the supplemental feeding, PnP helps bring parents of these children back on their feet by giving them needed counseling, values formation, and livelihood and skills training, so that they will eventually have the means to support themselves and their families.
Topics on affective parenting, health and nutrition, and responsible parenthood are also discussed.
HAPAG-ASA, a compound of the Tagalog words for table and hope, is primarily implemented through the Catholic Church in the Philippines with more than 30 dioceses carrying out the program.
To donate, visit http://hapagasafeeding.com/donate. (Raymond A. Sebastián)