The difference a hot meal can make

With the support of a farm, a school can run a daily lunch program for students. School-day lunches are game changers for students and staff in impoverished communities where families face food insecurity. Whenever a school introduces daily meals there is a significant increase in enrollment, retention, and grades, and absenteeism and drop-out rates decrease just as much.   

Through our African School Farming and Food Security Project, Chalice will support the feeding of 16,000 children in 29 schools in Tanzania, Zambia, and Ghana.   

Ally and Michael are two young students attending Mkono wa Mara primary school in our Mbinga site, Tanzania. Like many families in their community, their parents’ small-holder farms were not productive enough to feed the family and generate an income.   

“At home there was no food to eat and most of the days we went to school hungry,” the boys told the Mbinga staff, “and staying hungry the whole day is really disturbing.”   

Ally and Michael dropped out of school to trade bananas for food. They were ten years old.  

But one day, they were in search of customers near the school grounds, and they saw a rush of children with plates filled with food. “The two young boys were astonished and yearned to go back to school,” the Mbinga staff write. “The following day, they woke up early to go to school and they were allowed to join the same grade. Ally and Michael are happy to be back to school and they enjoy learning, playing, and taking the nutritious meal every school day.” 

In the Mbinga site this year, 5423 sponsored and non-sponsored children learning in nine schools received a hot meal daily. 

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