Meals Packed at Frederiksen Elementary School Will Feed Hungry Children in Haiti
DUBLIN, CA–It is estimated that 10.9 million children under the age of five die in developing countries each year. Specifically, under nutrition contributes to 53 percent of the deaths. Fortunately, an organization was incorporated in 1999 to help provide solutions – that group is Kids Against Hunger. The foundation has nearly 55 satellite locations throughout the United States and Canada.
Kids Against Hunger’s meals offer all nine of the essential amino acids required for complete nutrition. The initial challenge was to devise a food formulation made from dry ingredients that would not require special storage needs. Ultimately, the formula consisted of long grain rice, crushed soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamin powder. The other clear advantage was that only boiling water would be needed to prepare the meals.
On Friday, the second through fifth graders at Frederiksen Elementary School streamed through the MP in half hour shifts to construct these meal bags. Multiple assembly lines were established to create a smooth flow. Of course in handling food, the students were instructed in sanitation and all participants were required to wear hair nets. It was a fascinating scene. However, it was clear that the students were working with purpose. We checked in with Principal Claire Mognaga to understand how this all came about.
OneDublin.org: You are very passionate about Kids Against Hunger. Please explain the genesis of how this program landed at Frederiksen.
Claire Mognaga: “I heard about Kids Against Hunger last year when Green Elementary brought it to their school. The outcome from the experience that was shared with me by the principal at that time led me to pursue bringing it to our site. I worked with our PFC president, Jennifer Symes, to book the event for the 2016-2017 school year.”
OneDublin.org: In addition to the students actually filling the bags, what lessons are you hoping that they gain from this exercise.
Mognaga: “There are a couple of activities leading up to the actual packing event that help the students understand how much impact they are having in an area outside of their everyday surroundings. With the facilitation of the Executive Director of the local Kids Against Hunger operation, we held a 30 minute assembly to share details about what happens once the packaged meals leave our site. A video was shown to the students that touched on the devastating hurricane that effected Haiti, and students were able to see the difference between their everyday life and that of a child in Haiti.
“Students then made decisions about how they could raise $5 to donate toward the nutritional ingredients needed for the packing day event. Some students helped around their home doing usual chores and others volunteered time to try something new to help out their family in order to earn a donation. The main lesson that I hoped students would gain from this experience was demonstrated right in front of me on the day of the packing event.
“The comments made by the children, as well as the look on their faces, once they were done was exactly what I had hoped for. “I feel so good about myself!” “I helped to feed 30 children today!” “I am proud of myself for giving back!” These were just a few of the many statements expressed to me as the day unfolded. The opportunity to feel that sense of pride and accomplishment in doing something good for humanity is priceless.”
OneDublin.org: This assembly would be difficult to conduct without volunteers. We saw many in attendance. How did you go about “marketing” this effort and what was their reaction to this experience?
Mognaga: “Volunteers are certainly a must for this event to be successful and I am so grateful for the numerous parent volunteers we had that stepped up to be on our campus from 8:00-11:30. We publicized this event through a paper flyer and our Frederiksen Facebook page. In addition, we have a buddy program with Dublin High School students. These DHS student volunteers were able to join us for our last shift of the event. Responses from the volunteers were just as touching as those of the students. It was a “no problem, my pleasure, and such a great experience to be a part of” kind of day!”
So, in just one assembly, these Frederiksen students learned the value of charity and how their efforts in Dublin can help to nourish hungry children halfway around the globe. OneDublin.org would like to recognize the Panthers and to Principal Mognaga for providing this teachable moment.