Digos City, Davao del Sur – Lifeway Ministries of Digos City is currently launching a nutritional campaign for schoolchildren of Davao del Sur. In partnership with the Rotary Club of South Digos, the ministry is taking the charge in addressing Region XI’s malnutrition. The goal of the 6-month long program is to raise the body-mass index (bmi) of 650 children in the province. The feeding missions started since November this year.
Rotarian Past President Pearl May Demafeliz-Griffin is personally leading the program with volunteer teachers and parents. She is overseeing the distribution to each of the target elementary schools and communities. Delivering Bethesda’s nutritional cereal packs, she also provides the cooks with cash in providing the resources to the children. Visiting the sites every month, the volunteers are ensuring that the resources are spent on beneficiaries. The current Lifeway Ministry Pastor is also challenging each site leader to a contest for the highest BMI gain for the entire 6-month period. A Php 5,000 reward and citation is awaiting the winning group.
The feeding mission is a localizing expansion of Bethesda International’s Hapag-Asa feeding program. Hapag-Asa is a nationwide movement in addressing the serious effect of children’s malnutrition such as poor school performance and absenteeism. The aim of the mission is in easing the burden of the parents who otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide for school meals. Through Hapag-Asa it is being hoped that undernourished children can improve elementary schooling. The budget per child per meal is at Php 10.00.
Bethesda’s International support is coming through its Vitameal pack -a filled with barley, lentil and rice . The pack is being used as “subak” or ingredient of the meals. Ingeniously, the teachers and parents are using the cereals for binignit, monggo, bola-bola and other dishes. The preparation is to ensure that the children’s appetites remain for each meal.
The funding for the program is being taken mostly from the donation of Governor Claude Bautista – amounting to half a million pesos. Baranggay captains of each area are also supporting the mission for each of their respective jurisdictions. Other funds come from the personal donations coursed through South Digos Rotary President Teodorico Dofiles II and members. Currently, a fund-raising concert is being organized at Avenue One Hotel.
Despite the vast contribution from each partner, the program is failing to reach its targeted budget of 1 million. An additional Php 400, 000.00 is still being sought for. Due to the shortfall, the organizers are estimating that the program cannot extend beyond January of 2016. The mission leaders are therefore reaching out to as many potential partners and donors for the feeding campaign.