|[Picture of the recipients’ parents with the food packs. Photo Credit: Karen Lee]|
With all the food that we need, satisfactory living conditions, and affluence, many of the students of international schools in Korea live a life of comfort and abundance. Yet there are people all over the world who are constantly fighting simply to get the food, water, and basic necessities they need to survive.
According to Embrace Relief, a non-profit organization consisting of volunteers who work together on humanitarian aid and relief efforts, “815 million people are currently hungry due to a lack of resources, extremely unequal income distribution globally, and conflict in specific countries.”
By facing the issue in today’s world and lending a helping hand by providing food, we can nourish children who are starved of food, love, a home, and hope for the future. This is exactly what 19 students at Chadwick International did.
“Zero Hunger,” which is Goal #2 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aims to eliminate the severe lack of food that countless people face globally. Without the financial capability to secure sufficient food and meet their basic nutritional requirements, people often suffer the health complications of malnutrition.
This issue is also prevalent in the Philippines, where people end up undernourished as they do not have access to enough food and nutrition to keep healthy.
To tackle this issue, Philippines Service Learning, also known as PSL, a service club at Chadwick International, has launched and maintained a nutrition program for students in the Philippines. This program aims to provide meals for students who are unable to attain enough food for themselves.
It started in June 2018 with just 30 beneficiaries in a school in Labo, Camarines Norte, Philippines. Now, we provide breakfast and lunch from Monday to Friday for an astonishing 160 students at three schools.
Originally, the students were able to receive the food everyday at school, yet after COVID-19 hit, the nutrition program had to be modified. So, we arranged for food packs consisting of daily meals and learning materials to be handed out to parents of the recipients every Monday at school.
To tackle the issue of malnutrition, we aim to provide fresh food to the students. To do so, we have contacted and secured the assistance of local farms to supply fresh produce for the students.
We have also contacted local companies, such as milk companies, to supply the students with dairy products. Parents and teachers volunteer to package the food packs that are handed out to the students.
Back at Chadwick International, I, along with the other members of PSL, have worked hard to earn money to sustain this program. The financial assistance comes from the fundraising that we took part in, selling food at school activities or selling our club merchandise to our school community.
We have also received money from our school’s annual fund, which allocates money to diverse clubs based on their needs. Though challenging at times, the videos and images of the students and occasional messages of gratitude give a sense of purpose to my volunteering journey.
By meeting the students in person, when I traveled to the Philippines and contacted them through Zoom, and seeing their bright smiles as they thanked us for what we have done, I was supplied with the motivation to keep trying.
Knowing that I had given food to students just like me, and that I had alleviated their burden and allowed them to sleep with a full stomach, I can be proud and sleep soundly as well.
Only 19 food warriors put food on the table for 160 students. And I believe there could be many more food warriors in our community to fight the war against world hunger, as I believe we all strive to be a helpful and beneficial input to our society.
From this experience, I learned that even just simple actions of reaching out to those in need can impact others lives significantly, and I want everyone to feel that sense of fulfillment and warmth seeing the change that you have made.
Karen Lee firstname.lastname@example.org