“This is what you did together: you all have literally turned the love of food into real food. And that will change these children’s lives.”
I’m writing with an exciting and heartwarming update from The Lunchbox Fund! Since raising $5,000 in February during our Feed South Africa campaign, they’ve already implemented a new program to support a group of children at an early development childhood center (ECDC) in Franschoek Valley, outside Cape Town.
ECDCs play a very important role in South Africa, especially in the informal settlements. Very often women will not have the money to cover childcare while they work, and will leave that child with someone who might put them at risk, be careless, inexperienced, young or just unable to provide the child with proper care. Seeing this, women in the townships have created small day care centers, often rooms in the back yards of their small homes or shacks, and take the children in for a nominal fee, offering basic school lessons, safety, education, and food during the day.
A recent survey of primary schoolchildren from a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal Province, revealed a great number of children with persistent micronutrient deficiencies including inadequate vitamin A status (40%) anemia (28%), and iodine deficiency (97%). By sourcing foods from a manufacturer and wholesale provider of low-cost, long life, nutritionally fortified, culturally appropriate foods, The Lunchbox Fund has been able to address the micronutrient deficiencies and provide a nutritionally balanced meal. It also removes the burden of providing food from the ECDC, allowing them to invest their resources in books, toys, kitchen equipment, and aides. The daily meal provided encourages parents to leave their children to be cared for and educated, rather than wandering the streets.
Beginning on March 1, The Lunchbox Fund began providing meals to an additional 208 children at ECDC’s in the Franschoek Valley, a food-producing region that attracts migrant workers, and where the need for nutritional support of children is huge. Our $5,000 has been allocated to The Franschoek Early Childhood Development Program, and will be providing 20,000 meals over the next year to approximately 75-100 children. How amazing!
Last week, I also received a personal email from Topaz Page-Green, The Lunchbox Fund’s founder.
“On behalf of The Lunchbox Fund we really want to Thank You for your incredible effort. We are so proud and grateful to be the recipient of your generous and energetic initiative. It is truly not often that people follow through with what they set out to do - So what you have created stands out, successfully, a cut above and beyond the rest.
Thank You Thank You Thank You. 20,000 meals goes a long way.”
I hope you all feel incredibly inspired by what we’ve accomplished together. All of your posts, tweets, Facebook messages, and donations have made a real, tangible impact in the lives of children in South Africa whose lives will never be the same.