Teaching journalism in the public schools had become more of teaching more parents to strengthen support on nutrition and alleviation of hungry children for 12 years now. I have found more answers and realized how to better address my students' needs after attending the fellowship dinner of Jollibee Foundation's "Busog, Lusog, Talino" School Feeding program last Thursday. On its 5th year, Jollibee Foundation's School Feeding program had grown from feeding 287 beneficiaries to more than 40,000.
Jollibee Foundation's Busog Lusog Talino Program started addressing hunger among school children since 2007 with parents preparing low-cost balanced daily lunch for 136 days for Grades 1-2 pupils with the help of the volunteers who monitor weight and attendance monthly. This campaign closest to my heart seeks to also improve awareness among parents and barangays. Since its pilot implementation in 2007, 8 out of 10 pupils attained their normal BMI (body mass index)-for-Age status after the 136-day feeding cycle.
Present during the event were Sec. Dinky Soliman of DSWD, DepEd Secretary Br. Armin Luistro, UN-WFP Country Representative, Ms. Giselle Tiongson, Executive Director of Jollibee Foundation and CEO and Chairman of Jollibee Foods Corporation, Tony Tan Caktiong. "On addressing hunger in the Philippines, we teach a man to fish rather than give him the fish so the efforts will multiply", said Jollibee's CEO Tony Tan Caktiong. I definitely concurred to the inspiring speech on expressing gratitude to all the volunteers and supporter of the BLT campaign. I've also agreed with DepEd Secretary Br. Armin Luistro that there should never be any hungry child in the Philippines if we all support and participate to the campaign.
While media friends and I discussed on the matter of hunger and how nutrition had completely been left an unattended subject in the new curriculum, we have all unanimously voted that parents should start the responsibility. 1 out of 3 students go to school without any food intake everyday and it is a reality the teachers struggle to face every single day. Every change should start at home. This seemed simple and common to say but very few actually practice.
Over the years, BLT promoted the advocacy to fight hunger in ways and means to generate needed resources like involving the Local Government Units. Mayors John Bagasao of Bayombong Nueva Ecija, Marivic Belena of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija and Roger Panganiban of Padre Burgos, Quezon took the lead in integrating BLT in their respective education agenda.
The event also featured the new logo and new AVP to help promote support from partners and volunteers nationwide. A special performance by Sarah Geronimo, endorser of Jollibee was enjoyed by guests. At the end of the program, I was able to finally meet the CEO of Jollibee Foods Corporation who was thoughtful and friendly having this photo with me.
BLT program is ideal and it should be a reality if all parents will become responsible. It's really difficult to wake up early in the morning to check on your kids' food before leaving to school and I salute parents and even celebrities like Judy Ann Santos with such busy work schedule can and will try to religiously follow such responsibility but I believe we all can. We are Filipinos and we love our country. I profess this faith as much as i believe that #itsmorefuninthephilippines. We do not want to continue #itsmorehungerinthephilippines so we should all be optimistic and be responsible. Take action on being parents and feed the hungry in schools when we can because those hungry kids will be the future leaders who'd serve our time as elders. My constant effort to feed a child or two at school everyday is not enough to alleviate the statistics of hunger so I call on all of you to take action. It's time for you to be a BLT partner today! Be a sponsor donating P1,500/year for a BLT pupil or P60,000/year for a BLT school. Donate rice, vegetables and cooking utensils to BLT schools. For more information about the BLT School Feeding Program, you may visit www.jollibeefoundation.org.